Heads Up 7up
Do you remember playing Heads Up 7 Up as a child? The game where everyone would put their heads down with their thumbs up and a few people would walk around the room and push down thumbs. Then, whoever had their thumb pushed down woke back up at the end to try and guess who chose them.
I remember being ecstatic to play this game. For those playing the game, it was thrilling to wonder if you’d be tapped. For others not so keen on playing, it at least provided a good opportunity for a nap. The funny thing is, back in the day, it was everyone’s desire to be tapped and awake. However, today it seems that people are more comfortable keeping their heads down, basically asleep.
On any given moment, if you walk around the streets of a city you will see not the eyes of strangers, but hundreds of people with their heads buried in their phones. What is it that makes us think that a 10 minute walk is too much to handle? Is it boredom? Is it that we are not comfortable in our own thoughts? It is as if we fear being in the world so much that only minutes into our walk we are reaching into our pockets for the easiest distraction. I’d like to say this only happens in our commutes, but it simply would not be true. Coffee shops, waiting in lines, restaurants, subways these are just a few of the places that are filled with people nestled into the eyes of their screens. You would think a magnet was attached to the damn things.
See, like when we were children, our thumbs are still up but now they are on our phones and unfortunately, this time we don’t have someone calling “Heads Up 7 Up.” Sometimes I wonder what the world would look like if we decided to keep our heads up in public places.
I think we would see need. We would see beauty in both people and your surroundings. We would see that we are not alone. We would see funny signs and crazy advertisements. We would see humans creating as well as creation of which is not human. We would see emotions on the faces of others. I believe that through this, ultimately our eyes would be opened to the options that are ours as an inhabitant of this earth.
We would open ourselves up to the opportunities of conversation, exploration, and connectedness.
And when these things are on the line, what are we waiting for? Do we send someone out to bop people on the head like the fairy godmother? Do we walk around pushing down everyone’s thumbs? Okay, we should probably respect the law of personal bubbles, but I wish there was a way we could yell “Heads Up 7 Up!!” on the subway and make people snap out of it.
This is a transformation that starts with you and me. Unless you want to volunteer to yell to a bus of people to pick their heads up, we have to start with ourselves. People are intimidating. It can still seem challenging to start a conversation with a stranger. However, in order to show people what they are missing by burying themselves in technology, we must speak louder than the screens. We must get creative in finding ways to influence others away from technology and towards one another. Whether that is asking someone what their favorite part of their day is while you’re waiting in line together, or pointing out something incredible you see...just start speaking.
Let’s pick our heads up and go back to our circles of friends (no not on your Google+ account, your REAL flesh, blood, and bones friends). Let’s start challenging those closest to us to get their eyes out of technology and into the eyes of their neighbors. Revolutions start from the inside out. It starts with us. It starts with our friends. It starts with our neighbors. And it ends with a society more attentive to what is around.