Kindles, iPods, teal shirts


Walking down the road in my teal Uniqlo polo shirt and black cargo pants this afternoon, I noticed something strange. I wasn’t the only one. Specifically, I counted no fewer than six people wearing the same unusual colour combination I was.

Upon later reflection, I realised this was a classic case of confirmation bias. Once I’d noticed a couple more people wearing what I was, I began to actively seek more to validate my theory that suddenly the whole world had taken this teal shirt black pants combination as some sort of uniform. At the time though, it still felt a little unusual, and a tad disconcerting! Would I come back down the road tomorrow and notice even more people in the same clothes?

Seeing someone in public in a similar situation to you is an interesting phenomena.

Amazon’s Kindle eBook reader isn’t exactly a blockbuster hit in Australia or Singapore, though if you travel by train you may see a few people buried in an ebook tome. If I’m sitting with mine, and they’re sitting with theirs, and we make eye contact, it nearly always results in a smile. Aside from the carriage we’re travelling in, the only thing we have in common is our shared love of reading, and the fact we’re using the same device. But it connects us briefly somehow.

It used to be this way with [the] iPod. If anyone else on the MRT had one and we saw each other, it’d be a conversation starter. Back then, you needed a Mac to use an iPod, so I knew we could talk about her OS 8 experience, or what coloured iMac was his favourite. As with most Singaporeans, I tend to be quit shy and reserved in public, so this was quite unusual.

I suppose experiences like this, regardless of what it is that draws people together, makes us realise we’re all on this planet together.

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Ruben Schade is a technical writer and infrastructure architect in Sydney, Australia who refers to himself in the third person in bios. Hi!

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