Life's little (texting) hazards

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  1. A week of so I was walking the dog, headed down the sidewalk on a main street, when a cyclist (who should not have been on the sidewalk in the first place) came whizzing by at high speed… talking on his phone. He passed within a foot of me.
    Apart from how easily I or my dog could have been injured if either of us had happened to move to one side at the wrong moment – which, gee, a dog would never do that! – there’s the danger to the cyclist himself. My dog, who weighs nearly 70 pounds, could have seen him before me and jumped at him, quite easily knocking him off his bike and smack onto the sidewalk (or through the big store window a few feet a way, severely injuring him.
    At which point, he would no doubt have blamed my dog (if he wasn’t too hurt to blame anybody). I was furious – I don’t like people endangering me when I go for a walk in my neighborhood – but of course he was long gone once I recovered from the surprise.
    I sometimes walk around the office looking at my Blackberry… and I walked into a pole with a cup of coffee doing that. My reaction was “Wow, I’m an idiot” and to avoid doing that in the future. So I’m as aware as anybody as the lure of playing with your gadgets when you should be paying attention to your surroundings.
    Getting about in a world that contains other people, animals, vehicles, curbs, bumps on the ground, holes in the ground, trees, and other such dangerous threats requires looking at your surroundings.
    A long time ago, those too witless to do this were taken care of by helping the strongest bear or tiger or something get a meal. Today, they call lawyers.

  2. LOL!!! I love the walking into the pole story! It’s obviously not just teenage girls being overtaken by the technology.
    And yes — the proper response should be, “Wow, I’m an idiot”. Our frivolous, litigous society drives me CRAZY.

  3. I don’t blame society. I blame stupid people.
    (I’m seriously out of patience with people who tune themselves out of the physical world – whether in their car, on the sidewalk, or just banging around the grocery store preventing everyone else from getting their shopping done. It’s rude, and stupid, and highly annoying to everyone around them and mostly I find myself wanting to just knock them over. Fortunately I am sufficiently well socialized not to do that.)
    There was a coffee shop in DC that had a sign: “In order to avoid interrupting your conversation, we will not take your order until you hang up your phone.” It was great – it gave everyone permission to just walk straight past the numbskull standing chatting on the phone, oblivious that it was their turn in line.

  4. Where I work, one of the safety rules is “We don’t read/type on our Blackberries while walking.” The last person I caught violating that rule? A Health & Safety rep.

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