Realizing that I have let my aerobic activity drop off during the winter months (I use the excuse of the cold when it is just a much lazy) I decided to take a walk tonight.
Tonight is an unusual night. This night, or rather whatever night this falls on, is the night of the Super Bowl. There is no other U.S. sporting event that has a single focal point (all the other big ones are the best of 7). For one night, even I can make a predication about where millions of Americans will be: at home, watching the Super Bowl.
So I went for a walk (we do not have cable and have not actually watched the Super Bowl since perhaps 2008, so there is no sense that I am missing anything).
The odd thing was how quiet the neighborhood was.
Our weather has lurched back towards unseasonably warm so I would not have been surprised even at 2000 to find people walking their dogs or even just enjoying the respite from winter. Instead, nothing. Literally just myself walking along (except for one group of rogue children with Nerf guns, either bored with the game or conveniently moved outside by the adults) amidst darkened houses with the ghostly flickering of lights denoting a TV set in so many of them, small clusters of cars around some indicating a party.
It actually saddened me as I walked between the pools of light formed by the streetlights. I cannot fully tell you why, although the thought of millions of people being excited by a game had something to do with it, I suspect. It is one of the sad parts of this society and (perhaps) this civilization, that we have raised passively watching games to a level of almost worship.
No, I think the thing that saddened me the most as I walked is that we have come to be this: cocooned in our little homes, bands of light from entertainment devices bouncing off the walls as the silent world goes on around us. Someday the end may come but most will scarcely be aware of it, unless it happens to enter the screen they happen to be watching.
We have become a civilization of the passive. And passive civilizations are never the ones that endure.