Thursday, January 20, 2011

Tethered to Technology

There is no doubt that we are a society tethered to technology, and a recent event helps to prove we’re on the wrong end of that leash.
If you haven’t seen it (and I suspect only those who’ve missed it aren’t online in the first place [and chances are excellent they’ve seen it featured on some newscast]), there’s video of a woman walking and texting and subsequently doing a header right into a fountain. It’s pretty funny. If you haven’t seen the version that’s set to the theme from “Chariots of Fire,” find it. That one makes a funny scene downright hilarious.

To boot, this occurred at my local mall… that is, on the rare occasion when I have a need to go to a mall, it’s the one I select. The local paper featured an interview with her today: “’I usually don’t walk and text, but I did this day,’ she said. ‘I won’t anymore.’” Okay, lesson learned. And my hat’s off to the way she reacted: Climbed out and walked away… after retrieving her phone, of course… like nothing happened. I have a lot of questions about the obliviousness of those passing the scene, but that’s a blog for another day.

But I do have to question her peripheral vision. I’m familiar enough with the floor plan to know that she passed Victoria’s Secret only steps from taking the plunge, and as we’re approaching Valentine’s Day, I’m certain its store windows absolutely glow red and pink. It should be hard, nay impossible, to miss, even peripherally. And as a mall employee… yes, it turns out that she works at a store in the mall… she should know that the fountain is just steps beyond Victoria’s Secret.

While I can’t speak to her peripheral acuity, or lack thereof, it’s pretty obvious that we’re all a little too engrossed with… and distracted by… our phones. The more tethered we become to technology, the shorter and tighter that leash gets. If you live in your phone, you’re going to miss most of life passing you by, and you just might miss that last step and take a tough plunge. For the love of God, look up and pay attention.