Friday, April 26, 2013

The Walking Phone ZOMBIES: Did I miss a meeting on being an adult?

Smart Phones are awesome!
It's like having a computer, a cd player, a camera and a phone in my pocket!
I love having music to listen to...but not too loud so that I can't hear someone else's footsteps or a car. Unless of course it's a Prius. Which is also a reason to keep my phone in my pocket and my head up and eyes alert. I don't want to get smashed by a Prius. That would totally suck. And since I am already compromising my hearing with my ear buds, I feel it necessary to constantly check my surroundings using my eyeballs. My eyeballs are also awesome. They keep me from running into things all the time. All the time! In fact it's pretty much guaranteed that if I use them, I won't run into stuff.
SO far, so good. Right?

But when I look around, all I see are people walking with their eyes locked into their phone screens, with their heads bent. Texting. 
And I have to ask myself:  Did I miss a meeting on being an adult?
It's like a multi player game of side-walk-chicken. I admit, people's peripheral vision has become very sharp in the process. But the fact that everyone is looking down with their heads slightly bent is kinda Twilight-Zoney. It's weird. I see parents using their own children as seeing eye dogs!  WTF? And it is something I cannot get use to. I saw a lady near the Bart station walking while typing on her ipad. This particular Bart station has a history of muggings. I think any metropolitan train station has a history of muggings. So when I saw a lady almost get hit by a car while walking with her ipad, I noticed something strange. She barely even acknowledged the car who skidded to a stop in front of her. She just walked out into the street without looking up. It was a cross walk, but you still need to look. She kept walking to the other side of the street and I noticed the driver was on his phone, shaking his head. Probably telling the person on the phone what just happened; some stupid lady walking and typing on her ipad (almost getting hit by someone driving and talking on the phone.) I am pretty sure I heard Darwin laughing somewhere beyond the clouds. I wasn't laughing, though. I was a block away when all this happened. I was actually in a state of disbelief. I have read about muggings in this area, but I never knew WHY muggers chose this area. That lady was SO distracted that not only did she almost get hit by a car, but... she didn't see A BLACK MAN was approaching her on foot. Luckily for her, it was me. And she didn't even see me until I said something to her. I said very articulately, " might want to pay attention to your surroundings in this area. There have been muggings and phone snatches. " I said this as I was walking, so as not to startle her. I should have screamed BOO! But I didn't. If she had dropped her ipad, I would have felt bad. And probably arrested for attempted robbery. You know how it is. Being black. It would have been a tactical error on my part to make her drop her ipad for any reason. I just wanted to help, really. She was a sitting duck out there. A robber has an advantage of surprise if you don't see him/her casing you from a block away.
I hope she understood. I really do.
I'm not trying to be a do-gooder, nor am I attempting to win an award for outstanding citizen. I just see a bunch of people who are REALLY spacin' out big time, man. If the consequence of spacing out is a concussion or a robbery or both, then that's a problem. Even the news is starting to issue broadcast warnings for people to start paying attention to their surroundings.
I have yelled, " Hey,  get out of the street!" to more adults than children. People are meandering into the street on their phones. I see them do it right in front of me. Their phone rings; they answer. They politely walk away from people on the sidewalk so that they don't disturb them (which is a courteous gesture), but they walk right into the street. Without looking. The nearest and most convenient place of privacy. And they stand there and talk and gesticulate. And then all of a sudden, as if out of no where: SCREEEEETCH!! HONK!!! BEEEEEEP!!

(blink blink)

I don't know what the remedy to this phenomenon is. People don't appreciate being reprimanded in public for anything. Especially if they are actually doing something stupid. Like talking on the phone in the middle of the street. Children aren't allowed to do this. Because it is dangerous. Most people tend to ignore my warning until a car comes. So I don't really know what the solution is here.
I just have to see it all the time.
What I do know is this: So far... in the history of our existence here on earth, there has never been a time when everyone on the planet has had a satellite communication device. So I understand it's kind of a new thing. I am sure that in the future, people will eventually adapt. Until's looking pretty awkward out there. A dumbing down effect is in order. Since the dot com venture capitalist game started in the 90s, people have become addicted to technology. We are adults. We are all guilty. We were all told things when we were young that apply to this very topic.
" If you sit too close to the TV, you're gonna go blind and stupid! "

Beware of the walking phone zombies. 
Be aware.

Your friendly cyberhood 
Uncle Samurai

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