By Leigh Brandt

I have spent a great deal of time these past few weeks observing shoes. Yes, that’s right, much of my time has been spent analyzing footwear choices. Though I’ve seen a lot of Nike Air Force 1s and platform Supergas, I have to admit, it seems to me like Converse are making a comeback — though I know some may say they never left.

Throughout the first few weeks of school, I have been taking the T pretty often. My line of sight has been confined to looking down at the ground, incidentally where the best shoe observing takes place. 

I’ve never really been able to stare at a screen for a prolonged period of time while traveling for a couple of reasons: One; I tend to suffer from motion sickness when reading off of my phone, and two; in our ever-increasingly digital world, I try to seek out opportunities to put my phone in my bag and observe the world around me. 

In my recent attempts to do so, I can say I’ve taken note of a lot that’s happening inside the T. I barely have to turn my head to see dozens of people of all ages with their heads down, fully engrossed in their screens. 

Hey, I get it. There are texts to respond to and emails that need following up. But it makes me wonder, what does it take for us to look up from our devices and simply allow looking out the window to be our primary form of entertainment?

More than once, my wandering gaze has been met with that of another passenger who casually glances up to note what stop we’re approaching and our eye contact always feels uncomfortable. It definitely feels unfamiliar and part of that can be attributed to our constant desire to look down at our phones. 

We strive for eye contact in the classroom, the workplace, job interviews, etc., yet on a venture as casual as public transportation, it is met with awkwardness and discomfort. So, instead, I turn to looking down and continuing on with my makeshift analysis of footwear. Who knows, maybe I’ll soon discover that crocs are on the rise.

They do say you can tell a lot about a person by his or her shoes.