As someone who enjoys walking in New York, as many NYers do, I thought to take a walk relatively early yesterday. It was crisp, in the low 30s. Not windy. And it's Christmas Eve so I figured the sidewalks would be pretty empty. They were. However, that didn't mean that people talking on phones or reading/sending texts were paying any more attention than usual. If anything, they took license to occupy even more of the sidewalk.
They can be pretty difficult to avoid. I think this is because we have an inner mechanism that draws us to other people. Or maybe it's my personal energy. I'm walking toward someone whose eyes are looking into their device. I move a little to the left, they move to their right. Okay, let's try it the other way. No luck, they match my move. I end up stopping a foot in front of them as they walk into me. I don't want anyone to say that I walked into them. They're usually not pissed. I guess they're accustomed to finding themselves in this position?
I'm old fashioned. When I want to check for messages on one of my many devices (doesn't matter which, they're all synched), I generally pull off to the side and stop. In winter, I have to take off my gloves. And I'm just not fast or agile enough (fat fingers, fuzzy vision) to do this while walking. I'm also afraid that I'll end up walking into a city bus, which might have a rude effect on my future existence. :-)
A story I've told many times. I lived in Florida for a few months in 2005. I wanted to try living on the beach, and I had family in the area, so this made sense as a place to try out. In this part of Florida, you can drive on the beach, which goes for miles, between inlets on the intercoastal waterway. This stretch of beach was about 10 miles long, and except for a town in the middle of it, mostly empty. One morning I decided to take my swim via car. I drove a couple of miles south, on a stretch of beach that was totally empty. I laid out the towel, read for a while, then went for my swim. When I came back, there was another car parked next to mine. The people were gone, so I couldn't ask them why they chose that spot, when there were so many other places to stop that were totally secluded.
Yes I am old fashioned. I still think it's hilarious to see a person walking down the street talking to no one. Hands waving wildly. I try to imagine my grandfather, who died long before this became a common sight, trying to figure it out. "David, vat ist dis?" he might have asked.
When you get the idea that things will always be the way they are now, remember that not long ago people thought there was something special about printed magazines. Then go look at a magazine rack, if you can find one. Someday, not too many years from now, you'll mention the idea of a printed magazine, and a young person will have no idea what you're talking about.