Phillip Burton is a lawyer. Marie Sinclair is paralegal. They don’t know it, but they have a lot in common, and they are sitting 12 feet away from each other. 12 feet away, and bored out of their minds, doing anything to pass the half-hour commute they must suffer every weekday on the TTC.

Marie is passing the time reading over some files about a recent case to come to her: a thing she would do all day at the office, a thing she certainly didn’t need to do right now, but hey, what else was there to do? So yes, she was working… sort of. Marie could never really pay too much attention to reading on the subway, she was always far too interested in the people around her. What they were doing, who they were with, basic people watching activities. Try as she might, she could not stay focused (nor could she ever, really) on her task at hand. So she sat, she read and she watched. With no real intent either, it’s not like she would ever actually go talk to someone. What would she say? For a moment she pondered the topic – instead of reading – and quickly dismissed it. She turned her attention to her papers.

The next day, the same seat, the same 12 feet, the same folder of files, lots of people. Some she recognized from her daily commute from the end of the line, some she didn’t. However, this day, instead of reading her papers, she was busying herself with something new: an application she had loaded onto her cell phone the night before. Her trip the day before had inspired her and she remembered an article she had been reading in last month’s Wired (yes, she is a tech nerd). She remembered reading about a new social networking device available online, so when she got home after another boring subway trip, she decided action must be taken.

The night before, she had went online and created a user profile and an account on Springboard, and she was giving it a test run now. Logging on, she noticed her route had loaded up, which she had available to anyone (she was feeling adventurous), and browsed through who was online. A quick reference and she saw she was on car 6. 3 People were logged on. “Wow,” she thought. It was more people than she was expecting. Scrolling down the list, she searched for some reason to talk to someone when she saw the profile for PhilB, a lawyer. “Well there’s something,” she thought and clicked to view his route. The screen changed and she saw that he shared a 20 min period with her. Not only that, but he scored an A on the compatibility scale! Feeling adventurous as she was, she clicked “make contact”. A second screen came up, one that asked her if she would like to enter a personal message to PhilB to which she entered, “Hi! I’m a paralegal, and I’d love to chat!” The screen flitted away and her contact list came up, a few feet away she heard a funny ding, and a man rustled for his phone. Sure enough, the picture on the profile matched this man. Her contact list highlighted his name, letting her know that she made contact with him. Sure enough a couple of seconds later a message popped up, “Sure!”

They both stood up, closed their phones, and logged out of Springboard.