Almost daily I have the displeasure of needing to negotiate with other humans on matters of personal movement along thoroughfares and sidewalks.
As these other humans have recently become more and more infatuated with small networked technological devices (‘smart’ telephones), unfortunate side effects have become apparent, which I fear will inevitably lead to the end of humanity as we know it.
The increased focus on the little technical assistant that most everybody cradles in their sweaty paws all through their waking hours has resulted in an equal and opposite decrease in the level of attention these humans pay to their immediate surroundings.
At this point it is probably important to point out that the little technical assistant is usually tasked with delivering information about a place that is not actually in the immediate surroundings of the human using the device (said human is actually broadcasting that they would rather be anywhere else but here at that moment). This creates a conflict. While the human is fixated on the smart phone device thing, it can be safely assumed that there is no simultaneous fixation on the immediate physical surrounds. This is the crux. The smart phone is tuned to the virtual and non-local, while the life and actual activity continues actually in the immediate physical environ of the human.
And that’s where I step in – actually. I am a human, moving through the ‘real world’. Other humans are also in that ‘real world’, but focussed on the smart phone and its non-local information stream. This is the conflict. And it’s dangerous. The real should always have priority over the virtual, but in this ego-centric individualistic modern world the opposite seems to be the case – humans operating virtually are standing firm, or diagonal-walking firm, or zig-zagging, or slow-walking, and not making room for the real. Have I mentioned how dangerous this is? Like, dude, people are going to die…
There are two things that I do, as a matter of normal operations, that eliminate the possibility of me becoming a virtual human blocking the progress of real humans. These are, firstly, not having my face surgically connected to my little networked technical assistant while I move through the real world (I’m a guy, and therefore can only perform one function at a time, so this is just natural). Secondly, if I do need to stitch my face to my screen for some digital salve of some description, I STOP WALKING AND GET THE FUCK OUT OF EVERYONE’S WAY.
I’ll keep doing those things, while most of the rest of humanity goes the other way, and when you all collide with each other and jar your elbows and drop your screens and subsequently knife each other in the face with shards of gorilla glass, I will have plenty of free space on the sidewalks and thoroughfares to continue moving through, for real.
In the meantime, I WILL CONTINUE TO NOT YIELD if your face is directed at your device and you are in my way. YOU will need to yield to ME. K?
Yours on the thoroughfare ignored by its aimless hordes of distracted users,