I, and just about every other New Yorker with a cell phone, have a problem. It is called texting and walking. I am just as guilty as the next person for trying to navigate the already dangerous streets of New York while texting. And yet, I still find myself getting angry at the man in front of me who drastically slows his pace then swerves left and right making it impossible for me to pass all in the name of sending a text. I fume at the woman in front of me who slows to a turtle’s pace right as she reaches the top of the subway stairway because she must start texting the second she regains reception. I curse the nannies who text while pushing strollers filled with screaming children, they have on more than one occasion pushed those strollers directly into m unsuspecting shins. I am convinced that I do not commit these sins because I am the only one on the planet who can walk at a normal pace, in a straight line, while texting. I can also do it all without walking into the person walking towards me or walking into the produce stand or parking meter. Oh wait, not I can’t.
I am quite hooked on the constant availability of texting and checking my email anytime and anyplace. I am not alone in this. While every once in a while I really do need to text or check my email while walking, those instances are few and far between. I realize that I am also missing out on a while lot. I am missing all of the sights of New York City. Sure I live here and am inundated by these sights, sounds, and smells on a daily basis, but they are ever changing and seldom boring. Not only am I pissing off all my fellow walkers by pretending that I am capable of texting and walking, I am missing out on all of my surroundings.
I have decided that for the remainder of this month, I will refrain from whipping out my phone while walking from point A to point B. I will enjoy the view. I will not run into the person walking toward me or stab my rib into an errant banana on the fruit stand. I will take in my surroundings. I will remain open. There are very few things that cannot wait five, ten, or even fifteen minutes to be responded to. I will slow down and disconnect from the digital world while reconnecting with the real world. I have no doubt that the first few days will be hard, but I am committed to making it through the end of the month without texting and walking. I’ll let you know how it goes.