Friday, May 22, 2009

Looking up . . .

I met someone yesterday. A new hairstylist - well, new to me. He's been around in the same location for the past 24 years. An awesome, beautiful location - on the second floor of a building on the main drag through town-right across from a huge state University-with a huge, jutting out window that makes you feel as if you are in a treehouse.
He has a wonderful personality and it is quite obvious that he loves his work. And he definitely knows how to cut hair - this is the best cut I've ever had. But yet he mentioned that business has been dying off, that he wasn't sure how much longer he was going to remain open.
Was it the economy? Maybe part of it - but people still pay for haircuts. Was it that the town was over saturated with cheap hair cutting shops? There have always been many hair stylists in town.
No, he said, he thought it was because he had become invisible. Interesting. He has a lovely location, amazing skills, reasonable prices - so he explained a little more. He says it used to be that the college students would come downtown and look around at things but now, although students still come downtown, they don't look around: they look down. At their text phones.....busy, busy texting to people who they can't see because they are looking at their phones. How can we see each other if we are only looking down? We are tuning ourselves out: visually and auditorily.
We are losing our ability to communicate through any mode other than electronic. It is impacting us more than I ever realized. If we don't look to see, how do we know what is there? How do we miss hitting obstacles (literally and figuratively) if we don't see?
Blaine's business is going down the tubes not for any reason other than people don't look around and appreciate their surroundings anymore. Perhaps the answer is to put advertisements where people can see them: on the ground. Renting out sidewalks to advertise - what a novel idea. But it may just be the direction we are heading--down.

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