OK so it’s been a few posts since I had a serious rant but I feel one coming on right now.
I’ve made reference to people on their phones in the middle of footpaths and using them whilst riding their pushbikes but it seems to me like it is become, or has indeed already become, an epidemic of idiots with smartphones.
Why on earth is it so important for people to remain in touch all the time?
I remember an old episode of Star Trek where the subject was an addictive interactive brain game which was superimposed over reality and everyone on board became so addicted that they eventually slipped into a complete euphoric stupor – all a plot by aliens to take over the starship of course but it strikes me that people are becoming less capable of being interactive. By the time we’ve all slipped into the ease of text speak, we’re going to lose the power of speech. I’m already seeing youngsters who are seemingly incapable of carrying out a telephone conversation, yet put a device in their hands with text capability and they’re veritably garrulous.
When I drive into work rather than cycling I have to run the gauntlet of trying to pull my car into a parking space without running over a pedestrian who’s walking through the middle of the car park, texting or surfing on their smartphone or, worse, plugged into it and totally oblivious of the world around them. For sheer badness one day I carried on driving *on my side of the car park* until I was about six inches away from one individual. He jumped so high when he finally became aware of my vehicle that I swear he could have won a medal in the Olympics.
What kind of idiocy makes someone walk in the middle of a vehicular thoroughfare with headphones plugged in, staring at their mobile device and completely unaware of their surroundings?
I see it on newscasts all the time where the reporter is in the middle of a crowd of people and there is a high percentage of said crowd fiddling with their damned phones. It makes me want to rip the devices out of their hands, throw them to the ground and jump on it until it smashes into a million pieces.
And don’t get me started on people using their phones in restaurants and cafes. Whilst with their friends!
Wake up people – open your eyes, look around you. Be aware of your surroundings and the fact that there are other human beings on the planet. Real human beings. Human interaction is an extremely important part of our existence.
I’m not anti-technology. I love the web: being able to stay in touch with people who I cannot physically get to see very often and keeping in touch with relatives in other countries. Having a wealth of information to hand at the stroke of a few keys is damned useful but the best evening I’ve had in the last few months was sitting down with a couple of colleagues after work one evening and having a conversation about subjects which really made me think, use my brain, react dynamically and interact, gauge responses, judge body language and make sure I got my point across without causing offence and kept the conversation and lively debate flowing. Our phones remained in our pockets or bags whilst we conversed. Like real people. Which seems to be a shocking and novel concept for some.
When I take a walk anywhere, whether for work or pleasure, I like to look around me and take in my surroundings and the people. I’m considerate, keep to one side of the pavement, check before I cross a road and smile at anyone I pass – it’s not rocket science. How can you do that when your eyes are glued to a tiny phone screen?
As for those who think that the ban on using their phones whilst driving is ridiculous and should be disregarded, I’d like to force them to sit through graphic presentations of the accidents that this causes.
When the next ban is put forward, I’d like to suggest banning the use of mobile phones for anything other than a call whilst walking.