Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Walk, drive, ride, and Be Here Now


It really is pathological how distracted everyone is in public, and I assume the same is true in private. We apparently have to be entertained every waking minute, fiddling with electronic devices or with earphones on as we walk, drive, and ride the bus. 

Whenever I ride Muni, almost everyone aboard is involved with a cellphone or tablet, except for a few old farts like me. Simply riding a bus is apparently seen as downtime to filled up with electronic foolishness or music/entertainment. People seem to need to fill in every gap in their lives with something instead of simply doing what they're doing at the time. Whatever happened to the Be Here Now concept? You don't need to adopt arcane religious practices to pay attention to your surroundings. 

It's nuts and, as the latest Governors Highway Safety Report tells us, it's also dangerous, especially for pedestrians, who are not only distracted by their own electronic devices but are threatened by similarly distracted motorists (Pedestrian deaths surged last year by an estimated 10 percent).

(Recall that back in 2014 the governors released a report on the dangers of cycling, which prompted a flurry of outrage from Streetsblog and the bike lobbyists, as if riding a bike, given the intrinsic dangers, could ever really be made safe.)

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