There are all kinds of things in modern life that convince me that like Athens we are a doomed democracy. Commercials are one. I’ll vent about that another time but while you are waiting, listen to a few on TV, I mean really listen. Another is the internet. Oh yes, it is a marvel. Even when writing a blog not having to go to the library vs. getting what I need off the net is marvelous. Unfortunately it has made our lives, and our nation’s most important secrets, an open book. I say back we go to typewriters and carbon paper and make the spies really have to work at being thieves. A third, and the substance of this piece is the I-Phone.
I was a very happy person when the phone plugged into the wall and when you went out it stayed home. Some how we all survived without instant communication and mostly when we did use the phone we used it for social, not anti-social, purposes. I’ve lost count of the people I’ve almost knocked over or been knocked over by because they were looking at their phone and not where they were going. Worse yet, it stuns me to see drivers actually so involved on their or with their phones that they miss their exits or worse yet don’t miss because they suddenly cut across 3 lanes of traffic, cut me off, and miraculously don’t get killed getting off the highway when a mile up is another exit easily usable for turning around and getting off where one intended to in the first place.
Taking a camera on a vacation never seemed much of a hardship. I even enjoyed the week or so wait for the pictures to be developed and the anticipation of opening the Kodak envelope to see if I’d captured what I’d pointed at… Honest to goodness, I’ve seen vacationers tied up in knots trying to figure out if this picture would be better taken with the phone, or with the I-pad, or with the tablet, or–truth–with the camera that had with them anyway! And heaven help me sometimes something is so spectacular that the equipment needed to gather it in well is well beyond our financial means and is best caught and kept in one’s mind’s eye.
Then there is this meaningless chatter going on all the time. One’s ear’s are constantly filled with bits and snatches of other people’s conversations competing for the brain waves being used by you for your own conversation. I heard a blind person interviewed about the impact of the cell phone of a blind person’s life. He said, “Before I got used to them I almost got killed. I’d hear something clear as day like, “DON”T DO THAT!” and think someone was trying to warn me about an impending disaster I was walking into.”
So as a case in point, we come to the infant, the grandma, and the I-phone. Here’s the set up. I’m sitting at a table outdoors having lunch. Down the side walk as a very leisurely pace comes a stroller. In the stroller is an absolutely precious child, not that all infants aren’t absolutely precious. The propelling of this baby down the sidewalk was certainly its’ grandma who was pushing the carriage with one hand, holding something tightly under her armpit, and with her other hand holding her phone to her ear. It was clear to me she was talking about this precious infant. It was also clear to me she was paying no attention to this precious infant because she almost flattened someone in front of her, swerved out of the way to realize she was about to go over the curb into the street.
’nuff said, me thinks.