Thursday, November 15, 2007

What Do People Think About When "Idling"?

Have you ever wondered what people think about when they are "idling", that is when they are waiting for their next event to occur? Examples of "idling" include waiting at the doctor's office, waiting at the bus stop, or sitting in the bus or in a car.

For example, when I'm riding in a car and we're driving past a bus stop, I sometimes think about how the people at the bus stop might be thinking "I wish I was in that car".

When I'm sitting on the bus, I generally look around the bus and speculate about what other people might be thinking about. Although these days most people on the bus just listen to their I-pods, I'm sure they nonetheless at times actually reflect about what's on the minds of other individuals on the bus.


Anonymous said...

Idling has almost become a notion on the verge of extinction in this age of continuous distraction and bombardment of stimuli for the senses. We rarely have the time to sit, focus our attention and concentrate on the trivalties of life such as "what are other people thinking about."

At the same time, thoughts are rarely if ever original in nature. If you've had this thought, other people must surely have had the same thought.

When I am on the bus, it becomes setting more conducive for people watching than thought provocaton...maybe you will see me on the bus oneday and wonder what it is that I may be thinking about and I may be on the bus not thinking about anything in particular but observing your actions.

Steve said...

Interesting perspectives. I definitely agree that individuals seem (more than ever) to be continually distracted and disengaged from the "now".

I also agree and find interesting your comment about the originality of thought. You're probably right in saying that if you've had a thought, it's likely that someone else has also had that thought. However, it's nonetheless interesting to think about the real possibility that certain weird thoughts might have never before been experienced.

That being said, the interesting property of language such that a finite set of words can produce a seemingly infinite number of sentences, makes it possible that long-winded and convoluted thoughts could likely be original. I guess it depends how one conceptually distinguishes "original" thoughts from each other.

Maria said...

I love your cartoon! I came across it just doing a Google image search. When I read it, and the Blurb with it, I totally understood. I DO take the bus and wish I was in the passing cars or wonder if they are thinking about me waiting there... plus I have a dog who ALWAYS wants to be petted!