Tuesday 10 July 2012

Critical Fail: Walking and Texting

To begin, I want to say that I'm generally a fan of letting adults make their own decisions.  Trying to prevent people from making stupid decisions is just too big a job for anyone to handle.  But sometimes, those stupid decisions have to be pointed out.

As I was driving today, I was waiting at a stoplight when I saw a young lady walking along the sidewalk, earbuds tucked into her ears and iPhone (or equivalent) held up as her thumbs busily twittered across the screen.

I thought to myself: She's not going to notice when she leaves the sidewalk to step into the road.

And I was right. 

She kept on meandering at the same leisurely pace, her attention clearly focused on three glowing inches.  Halfway across, the light changed.

I kept still, since being distracted shouldn't be a capital crime.  Certainly not one that deserves execution by car.  The person behind me was clearly in more of a hurry and blasted the horn.  That woke Sleepwalking-Texter up and she scurried across, allowing traffic to move once more.

As I drove home, I had to wonder: what on earth could have been so critical as to demand so much attention?  But I know the truth, just like everyone else does.  It wasn't anything critical.  It might have been job related, but even so, it likely could have waited until she got to her destination.  Most likely it was an exchange between friends.  Something inane which would have seemed utterly pointless if anyone had gotten hurt.

I'm not a fan of 24/7 connectedness.  There are legitimate emergencies, which is why I carry a cell phone.  But only a few people have the number.  I don't conduct my life with it.  I carve out set time periods to be online each day, but I wouldn't like carrying the Internet on my hip.

It makes me a techno-Luddite freak and I accept that.  And if there are people out there who really want to be in the thick of things constantly, they may do so with my blessing.  But I can't help but think they miss out on a lot.  In the words of a wise puppet:  "Long have I watched this one.  Never his mind on where he was, what he was doing."

Technology can come between a person and the world.  I've watched people scurrying through museums, taking pictures of the exihibits as if they only had thirty seconds left to live.  Now I don't even take a camera with me unless I'm doing research.  I stand (or sit) and actually look at the pieces and displays.  I take the time to see the nuances because otherwise all I have is a bulky file full of pictures that I somehow never find time to look at.

Call me crazy.  But I prefer the slow life.

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