Fish: Free yourself and turn it off once in a while
I was on my bike the other day and saw a mom, dad and three kids ranging in age from months old to 3 or 4 years old.
They were walking down the side and both mom and dad were walking like Neanderthals with their faces permanently affixed to the screen on their phones. Did I mention that two of these kids were walking? Did I mention that the youngest one was "walking" the pretend tight rope that was the curb, the curb that was closest to the street? Do I feel safe telling you about this? Yes! Do I fear some sort of retaliation? No! In order to retaliate you must first know or at least have an idea that there is someone else on the planet. Neither one of them noticed that I was there and I question whether or not they knew where they were.
I don't profess to be perfect in the smart phone age. I do have a tendency to stare at the screen from time to time. But when I have people with me that need a little guidance or require my attention, I simply leave the phone in the back pocket and pay attention to the world around me. That being said, I have checked my phone during dinner, I have checked my phone during a meeting, I have checked my phone when I didn't need to check my phone. It's some form of electronic addiction and even the least likely to get drawn in are getting drawn in.
Honestly, when they talk about the zombie apocalypse I think this is what they mean. Sure it's not exactly like a true zombie that craves your brains. But if you stop and think about it and really pay attention as you move around the planet you'll see them. Looking straight down into their phones, bumping into to things, people, tripping over grubs, walking off decks, piers and into water fountains. And that part I said about eating brains, if you stop and think about it, they actually are feeding on brains — their own!
I know a part of me is getting less tolerant of the world around me. Change is inevitable and I'm sure that my parents probably watched me do things that made no sense to their generation. But the generation Xers are the last link from the Baby Boomers and a simpler way of life. So watching them get pulled into the vortex of smart phones and seemingly wandering around aimlessly has to be hard. But then you've got Generation Y, these are the people that know very little of how technology has changed lives. They don't understand that sometimes people weren't home and you couldn't find them. It was acceptable for someone not to return a phone call for 24 to 48 hours. Now you expect a response in 2.4 to 4.8 seconds! Seconds! Which probably can be linked to the amount of rage we are seeing.
I'm not sure what the answer is, I just know that at night, I power off my phone. Because if I don't it'll buzz and beep, chirp and tweet, ring and ding all night. I'm not sure how people sleep through all that, maybe they don't (see above comment about rage). I need the peace of mind that no electronic device has the opportunity to interrupt my sleep, I have a dog for that, but at least I know he loves me for it. As for my phone, it simply says "Sigh" when I bark into it — what the hell is up with that?
Fish is the opinionated morning jock on Classic Hits 92.7. He offers up his opinion at 7:50 a.m. every morning (Monday through Friday). Let's start the revolution. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. The opinions expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of the Brattleboro Reformer.
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