Monday, July 2, 2018

A World Unaware

We’ve all seen and laughed at the videos of clueless people walking into mall water features, telephone poles and lamp-posts, but many people really ARE that bad. I noticed at the doctor’s office the other day that four of the eight of us in the waiting room were looking and poking their thumbs at their cell phones. I’m sure it’s no coincidence that three of them appeared to be under 40.

I’ve seen people walk out into traffic while looking at their phones. I’ve held the door for some folks who walked through without apparently even being aware that they’d passed through a hole in a wall. Granted, a few were just being rude, but some appeared to be so hypnotized by their little magician that they had no idea where they were or what they were doing.

Today, after we ran a couple errands, the missus wanted to experience a rare thrill and go to the Chinamart upriver and over in enemy territory. Even with an unusual pocket full of cash, I knew where every penny had to go and that I couldn’t afford to spend any of my fleeting wealth. Therefore, I chose a bench between the door where I came in and the restroom and began people-watching.

It always amuses me when I see grey-haired grannies teetering along texting or reading a tweet, and I did see a couple of those. Mostly, though, it was people in their 30’s and younger, with a few middle-age folks thrown in for good measure. Three young women walked in side by side, each with thumbs a-blazing. Lots of singles of both sexes, oblivious to the world around them, nearly running into shelving units and other people. The scary ones were those trying to push a cart and text at the same time, while still not looking where they were going.

On the way back to our own town, the vehicles weaving on the highway, once attributed to drunk driving, proved to be texters, given away by the fact that they were driving down the highway while looking down at their phone. It’s obvious that the old saw is true about the Lord looking out for fools and little children.

After reaching our stomping grounds, we stopped at a “fast food” joint to get a burger to take home to the pooch and ourselves an ice cream cone. The middle-age guy in the company truck in front of us kept letting the car in front of him nearly disappear from sight before I’d cue him with a beep that it was time to get his eyes off his phone and back on the cars ahead. After the fourth time (it was a LONG line), I made it a blast, not a beep. Naturally, he looked into the mirror with an angry look on his face and with his jaws flopping up a storm. I’m sure he was commenting on my fine moral character and upstanding reputation in his world. I’m afraid that if he could lip-read that he noticed that my comments about him were less than Christian.

In my mind, the development of cell phones has been a VERY mixed blessing, though I’d hate to be without one. The development of texting, though, I believe is one of the most dangerous things ever created. Then again, maybe I just feel that way because I don’t have 500 “friends” with whom constant contact is a matter of life or death. I guess I’ll just keep my hands on the wheel and my eyes on the road and keep grumping. Copyright 2018


Don Setliff said...

When I was working in downtown Charleston (WV), I was coming back from lunch when a soyboy stepped out in the middle of the street with his phone and just stopped. With no way to go around him because of parked cars, I blew the horn after waiting for him to move. The young people dining outside on the sidewalk started shouting at me, so I gave them all a handgun guesture with my hand as I drove by. The cellphone has ruined a whole generation of kids.

Don from Pleasant Grove.

Gorges Smythe said...

I agree, Don.

Lady Locust said...

More and more, I wish I didn't have a cell phone. I kinda miss being "dis-connected" when I wasn't home.

Gorges Smythe said...

I guess you could always turn it off.

deborah harvey said...

i have one mostly for police or fire department. want to be able to call 911 when needed.

Gorges Smythe said...

Safety is partly why we have them, dh, especially now we're getting old and wobbly.

Ralph Goff said...

My cell is only for talking or texting (but not while driving). It annoys me to no end seeing other people neglecting the world around them and totally wrapped up in that tiny screen in their hand. And I vow to never be "that guy". Its an addiction and sickness.

Gorges Smythe said...

Ralph, I have no doubt that there are many pedestrians dead today because of cell phones and earbuds.