This past Friday I got on my favorite Northeast Regional Amtrak train for the quite easy two-hour trip from DC to Philly. Of course, this was made easier because I was equipped, as always, with my favorite gadgets: my personal cell phone, my work Blackberry (for e-mails, the Internet and Brickbreaker), my iPod (with hours upon hours of both movies and video entertainment) and my computer (with a multitude of TV episodes and the potential to play The Sims 2 if things really got rough). I love Amtrak for having an outlet at my seat – perish the thought that one of my electronic devices could run out of battery.
A middle-aged man gets on the train at Baltimore carrying only a newspaper and sits down next to me. I continue watching something on my laptop (with headphones in) until he says, “This is my first train ride!”
Needless to say, I’m floored. I think about the juxtaposition and I’m actually stunned.
On the left, we have a 20-something Gen Yer who has taken more train rides than he can remember and has brought every possible electronic device with him to amuse himself to the extent that a rainstorm in the train car would pretty much wipe him out. And then sitting next to him is a 50-something Boomer who has never traveled by train and has brought just today’s Washington Post to occupy him from Baltimore to New York City.
I looked around and watched the other teenagers and 20-somethings with their iPods and iPhones sitting next to sleeping 40- and 50- somethings.
We apparently need a lot more stimulation to be happy. Man are we spoiled…