I don’t know how many accidents have been reported – people wandering out into traffic, falling down open holes, stumbling off cliffs or, recently, stepping into an open canal – happening to those whose attention is diverted. By diverted I don’t necessarily mean someone walking down the street with their jaw across their knees because they’ve seen the most beautiful woman in the world, more those who allow themselves to be distracted from everything around them. It is hard to think of anything from even the distant past which has caused so many accidents, simply because a person was concentrating on completely the wrong thing.
And it is amusing, normally, for the average onlooker. We see them hit lampposts, trip over clearly visible obstacles, smack into windows and doors all the time holding firmly onto their conversation through a cell phone. I guess the closest would be holding an actual conversation with someone, at least talking to them, but then people would be able to see what is happening around the, would have some idea that there is a world in which they are moving.
Today almost a third of the population seems to be staring at a small screen, moving their fingers back and forth across a miniature keyboard and either telling the world through Twitter and Facebook how exciting or boring everything is – which they cannot see because they’re concentrating on telling everyone about it – and ignoring everything around them. The cell phone, it seems to me, is a far worse threat to actual social interaction, if not to personal health, than the Internet.
Some people are so concentrated on this virtual world, which isn’t even a world you can quantify, playing across the screen of the cell phone, they do not even register others around them, let alone the dangers of traffic, of open drains, lampposts and canals.
The latest one to hit the news wire? A woman in England who was so obsessed with the excitement of her texted conversation that, although she knew where she was, although she managed to navigate a flight of stairs without a single stumble or false step, still walked right on into a canal, and had a cold, wet wake-up call with reality.
But is it something which, as the article claims, has happened to all of us? Are we all, those of us who use a texting service or even a cell phone, really so out of tune with what is going on around us that we walk into something, or someone? I certainly hope not and, judging by some of the comments on the news story, many would tend to agree. There are still a few people out there who can wait, who can stand still – without someone else running in to them – who know that there are other things more important.
But, for many, gone are the days when we accepted that, if there was no answer when we rang, the person wasn’t there. We are all accessible these days. If you have a cell phone, you must be able to answer it straight away. If you send a text message, an immediate answer is the only thing which is acceptable. A two-way problem. We don’t want to be seen as being rude or ignoring someone through not answering immediately. We don’t accept that someone else might just have a life away from the cell, no matter what time of day or night it is.
Oh, and the comment about a group of girls texting one another despite being together? I believe it, I really do.
Love & Kisses, Viki