The other day I was sitting at a bus stop reading a book. The sun was high and hot. It was a fine day to eat a popsicle.
As I sat there, a young man approached and sat to my right. I glanced up and mumbled “hello” when he first arrived and returned my attention to my book.
After a few minutes I noticed in my peripheral vision that he was holding something in his hand. The first thought that my mind generated, based on my very limited visual clues and what I assume were random firings of the neurons in my brain was: “oh, he is holding a grape-flavored popsicle!” Which made me wonder where he had been stashing the popsicle when he first walked up and I’d glanced up to greet him. In his pocket? In his fancy work satchel? How did he keep it cold?
I was ready to congratulate him on his incredible ingenuity. How did he devise a way to store this frozen and deliciously icy-sweet treat so that he could whip it out at the exact most ideal moment for its consumption (i.e. long wait, hot bus stop, mid-day)? I had often pondered methods for doing this exact thing, but found no simple solutions.
Soon the curiosity was too great... I turned my head for a closer look only to realize that he was not holding a grape-flavored popsicle at all!! He was holding a cellular telephone, on which he was actively composing and sending text messages.
I was gravely disappointed.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the world were always as it appeared from a peripheral gaze? If not wonderful, it would at least be more exciting!
I’d much rather sit next to people at bus stops holding grape-flavored popsicles than cellular telephones.