Last night as I was driving the mundane New York State Thruway towards Syracuse, I passed several school buses that were packed with students, presumably en route to a football game. It’s a common occurance in these parts, there’s a small convoy of school buses, one or two for the team members (and a few loose cheerleaders), a third bus for the cheerleaders (and one or two loose players) and a bus or two for parents and student spectators.

In the past when you looked into these buses, you’d see signs of rowdy activity, a football player’s ass aimed at you in a moon, cheerleaders bouncing around to practice their ‘perky’, etc. However, looking in these buses I didn’t see any such activity. Instead I saw iPod buds. In almost every set of ears.

How depressing.

When I was a student I looked forward to traveling with the school, the bus ride was a great place to hang out with your friends and you got to experience different things, even if it was just another school across the county. You interacted with others. But now it seems that everyone is turning inward and instead focusing on the latest track from Britney Spears.

After noticing the iPods on the bus, I began looking in other vehicles and noticed a lot of the same; people talking on their cell phones (which didn’t anger me for a change), surly teenagers with their iPods, young ones in the back seat of the family environator (my new word for the day), engrossed in a Disney DVD on the monitor hanging from the ceiling. There appeared to be no interaction among the passengers of any given vehicle. Hell, the father didn’t even seem to be yelling at the mother about directions or anything.

What happened to “count the cow” or “license plate BINGO” or “The wheels on the bus go ’round and ’round”? I would find the prospect of driving across the country with little regard of what was going on around me to be lunacy.

I am a loner. I enjoy being by myself from time to time. But I would hate to live in a world of isolation. Sometimes you need to just turn off the technology and engage in some good old observation and conversation.

Here’s my new motto to share with the world. Feel free to duplicate at will.

“Going somewhere? Just go ‘click’.”