The time I have spent in Burlington this week has been punctuated by surprises – but nothing could have prepared me for the sight of people en masse without i-pod earbuds secured in their ears.
Coming to Burlington, Vermont? Leave your i-pods at home!
Nary a one. No kidding.
Well, except for me, and once I noticed I was the only one I got really self-conscious and tucked them away in my purse.
Hmm, wait, I did see a couple of runners using them. But, like, maybe two total. And there were people on bikes, people walking along alone, people sitting on benches, in Starbucks, etc. etc. with their ears open.
The land that Apple forgot. Hallelujah.
Don’t get me wrong. I love my i-pod Touch. I really would not want to imagine life without it.
But just for these few days, I decided to walk the streets of Burlington without the plastic obstructions shutting out the world.
It was revolutionary. And, no kidding, mind expanding.
Haha, I have only had my i-pod Touch a year and a half but it took me just days back then to get addicted. And years ago I was a big Walkman girl. Basically, I sometimes think I like music more than people.
This leads me to something though. Is it people I don’t like or is it unfriendly people that do me in?
I would have to say the latter is most likely the reality. And I just cannot stomach miserable people anymore.
Here in magical, mystical Burlington, Vermont people are friendly. Someone told me it was voted Happiest City in the country. I read someplace it was declared Least Angry City in the country.
There is no need to shut out the people.
Being here has felt like another planet for me. Or, at least, a different country. At first, I was suspicious of people striking up conversations with me. Of them being so nice and friendly and I wondered what they wanted. What did they want to sell me or how did they want to screw me over.
How sad is that??!
But when your ears are free to hear what’s around you here in this place, it is not shouting or lots of traffic or other irritations. It’s water lapping on the shore by the lake. It’s people visiting with one another, dogs running, kids running and laughing. I even saw people just sitting on park benches looking happy and contented.
These are people it’s easy to connect with once you hack through the walls built up by all the years of crappy behavior.
I think people need connections with others in order to be happy.
I think connection hinges on communication.
Out in the real, non-Burlington world I see people way more attached to their electronics than their surroundings. Imagine my surprise here when I saw parents and children interacting instead of parents glued to their cell phones and children waiting for their attention.
Oh, yeah, some people here do talk on phones in public but not many.
I saw exactly two people on laptop computers at the downtown Starbucks.
It’s all very interesting to me.
Imagine a world where you might make good relationship choices because you’re not starved for any seemingly positive attention.
It boggles the mind!
I wonder which came first, the disconnect or Apple electronics.
During my time in other places I have had conversations about how people only really need family and a few close friends. That people generally suck and there is no point in worrying about other people.
And I have said those words myself.
Even though I’ve only been here in Burlington a few days I have been shook (or is it shocked) out of my hole and a part of me has been awakened to the friendliness inside myself again. I had hidden it away because of what people “in the real world” do with it.
I really am a people person after all. I just need those people to be genuinely nice and friendly and I have found a lot of that here.
And maybe we do need to feel there are nice people around. That there are more friendly people than sucky ones. That people are happy to be living where they are nested.
Here in the (relatively) tiny hamlet of Burlington I have found a vibrancy coupled with a laid back mentality that is really appealing.
A girl I met from New York (“down south”) who moved here a few months ago said that the pace of life here is a little slower, the focus is not on stuff… that people are active and friendly … that it is more of what life should be.
I tend to agree.
Yesterday, I went and checked out the Center for Sustainable Agriculture, which is an extension at University of Vermont. I will be researching more and blogging about this wonderful group soon!