I don’t remember exactly when I learned to start avoiding eye contact with people on the street. Was it after the cat calls I received in high school? Did it blossom taking city transit to and from school every day? Or was it when we were warned not to engage with homeless people during my college orientation in downtown Manhattan?
All I know is that it was a message I heeded. This lesson was aided by the invention of the iphone, which put tons of music, skip free, in my pocket right around the time I entered college.
With headphones and with (or without) music, public became private again.