Watching

By Jo Phillips

It was cold.  Too cold.  Colder than it was supposed to be on a typical October morning.

Ava pulled her jacket closed tighter over her chest and risked a glance down at her watch.  It was 5ºC and wasn’t going to be getting much warmer as the day progressed.  And she was running late.

Keeping her head down in a futile attempt to evade the cruel strikes from the wind, Ava hurried her way into the Tube station.  Busy commuters shuffled past her, briefcases in hand, as they navigated their way through the crowded station like fish swimming upstream.

London was the fast-life, the modernity she had sought when she made the decision to move there for her semester abroad.  There was more to London then what she saw in the brochures, more than the London Eye and the quaint red telephone booths and the other tourist attractions.  There was history here, rich and deep and hers to experience.  And as a history major in American uni, she planned to experience both the exciting past and the progressive future London had to offer.  London was first settled over 2,ooo years ago.  In its foundation lies the construction and reconstruction of London Bridge, the devastating fires of the 12th century, the Black Death, the works of Shakespeare, the beheading of King Henry VIII’s wives, the dark tales of Jack the Ripper – suddenly, Ava’s 21 years of age didn’t seem like much.

Ava turned left and waited behind a couple struggling to find their Oyster cards in their bags.  She glanced at her watch again.  She couldn’t be late to her first day of work at the British Museum.  Sliding in front of the couple, Ava scanned her watch, using Apple Pay to cover her transportation and save her the hassle of sifting through her own bag to find the Oyster card that was bound to be floating around in the bottom somewhere.

 

687883034_4102457471001_201503-tech-apple-iwatch

As she stood waiting for her train, Ava pulled up Maps on her watch.  She typed in the address and a few seconds later had directions from her next station to the museum.  She wondered how they did it back then – how commuters knew where to go without easy access to an online map or without frequently-running underground trains.  Now, she realized, rather ironically, she was using modern technology to take her to a life of the past – the British Museum.  It’s a different world, she thought, staring down at her watch as the train pulled up;  she wasn’t going to be late, after all.  But even as a history guru, she thought: It’s time to embrace it.