Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Incandescent with Rage - Walking and Talking while on the phone!

My eyes have been opened up more and more of late than at any other time, to what is truly one of the banes of my life. My exasperation at the obsession of walking and talking whilst on a mobile phone has raised my blood pressure to an unhealthy level!

It is fast becoming the norm rather than exception and to the detriment of society. Oblivious to others and on a totally different planet those that are guilty of indulging in this unacceptable 'crime' has lead to a fundamental breakdown in the the very basics of what I would describe as acceptable human behaviour.

Manners, consideration for others and spacial awareness are not recently discovered forms of human behaviour!

Yesterday as I was forced (not for the first time) to hastily sidestep a walking talking robot, my thoughts drew to the halcyon days when mobile devices the size of a household bricks were fixed in cars or only belonged to those in the higher echelons of society.

Having to listen to someone talking at an inordinately and unnecessary volume on a mobile phone in itself is often infuriating, and although it is regrettably a common occurrence nowadays, it is in my world anyway incredibly discourteous to those in the immediate vicinity.

I wrote an article nearly ten years ago entitled 'Mobile Diarrhoea' on the subject of commuters on trains engaging in loud and mind numbingly tedious mobile calls, and it was published in a London evening newspaper, and it can be read here.

Incredibly 76% of the UK population has a smartphone (up from 52% in 2012), with that figure increasing to 90% for those people between the ages of 16 and 34, so you can be sure a lot of those people are not even walking and talking, more likely walking and gawking as they stick their faces into their brightly lit gadgets to entertain themselves. Whether they are playing FIFA 17, checking emails, placing an online bet, looking up the latest football scores, participating in sexting, poking someone on facebook, posting a tweet or whatever - the underlying point is that nothing they are doing is a matter of life or death, such that it cannot wait a few minutes. No thought is given to those around them, and as a result in their world the word 'respect' only relates to an Aretha Franklin mantra. In fact only one in four UK smartphone owners uses their phone to actually make a call in any given week!

The days of looking out for your fellow being and human interaction are seemingly over. Giving up your seat, letting a lady take her place in front of you, a gesture of good will, a simple acknowledgement, the muttering of those immortal words please and thank you, seem all but a distant memory when your eyes are steely fixated on your screen as you text your partner because you may be five minutes late home, therefore dispelling any possible accusations that you might be having an affair with Gladice who refills the office vending machines.

The 'walking talking' brigade amble along blindly in their self-absorbed world, get in your way, knock into you without even an ounce of apology, and all this while their obsession with their mobile device leaves them floundering in a world where time is money, but more importantly where time is precious!

Nowhere is this more commonplace than on public transport. Every morning and evening people from all walks of life are busy negotiating their way to or from their place of work.
We all have the same goal, to get from A to B as quickly as possible, as safely as possible. The extremely fast pace of life we all subjected to in this modern age means that in order to do this requires a good deal of concentration.

One does not need a slow paced, erratic walking persona in a robotic trance to hinder your journey, anymore than a delayed mode of transport to get the blood boiling, because those people that do not engage in such behaviour are fighting back!

I have witnessed people deliberately barging into, shouting at and gesturing at these narcissistic, self-absorbed characters as they carry on beavering away on their phones, electing to choose to take up a pretence that would have you believe they are oblivious to everyone around them. Perhaps one may deem this type of behaviour somewhat inappropriate, even condemn it, but is it not largely understandable?

But tell me; why should we obligingly make way for or take responsibility for navigating around people who have no thought for those that are around them!

So I ask you 'phone addicts,' why not think about your milieu from time to time, and at least step to one side and complete the life saving triple bypass heart operation on your touch screen, so others can pass without fear of being bumped, barged, tripped or worse!

Phone addicts........mind the GAP!

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