Texting and talking to the max…hazardous to our health


Good morning, a friend of mine sent me an email last evening with this You Tube video. I had seen a small part of it on the news the evening before but the news didn’t show the entire clip.
For a PSA I thought it was very well staged and realistic. Even if it is just acting, it is still very disturbing to hear the little girl ask why Mommy and Daddy won’t wake up or to see the blank unresponsive blue eyes of the baby.

It lets the viewer guess if any of the passengers in the driver’s  car or the others are still alive. We see their closed eyes and bloody faces and are left to wonder. The driver  is the only one who is still conscious.  I think that’s one of the points of the PSA. She gets to know the outcome of her moments of inattention  because she was texting while she was driving. If this were real, she would get to think about what she had done for the rest of her life.

I don’t really have any reason to text anybody that urgently and I doubt if any teenagers really do. Until I put my home up for sale, I refused to keep my cell phone turned on while I was out. I don’t give my number to anyone unless there is a specific reason to be called. If I am out of the house I am out for a reason. My landline still has an answering machine. If I feel the need, I can check for messages when it is safe to do so.  Yet, millions of people world-wide are not like me. There is a feeling of needing to be connected 24/7 by their electronic umbilical cord. It  must be addictive to be able to communicate instantly. Perhaps I am wrong, but I fail to see that there could possibly be that many life threatening emergencies that anyone needs to be in constant contact.

 I used to think people would use their cell phones as if saying, “Look at me! I’m so important I must talk while I’m dining, eating, walking, shopping, driving, whatever.” The most annoying ones still do it with the loudest voices without consideration for those nearby. Did you ever notice how much louder people talk on their cell phones? I could clearly hear a woman in the waiting area of the dentist office when I was back in the treatment room. No one else was in the room with her except the receptionist who had to listen to her non-stop talking.

I remember the day I saw the first man walking down the street when the Bluetooth first came out. bluetooth  I swear I thought he was arguing with himself. I was to the side of him and couldn’t see the phone stuck in his ear. I evaded him as much as possible. I felt it fairly scary to be in the presence of an unmedicated schizophrenic.

All of my objections to cell phones and texting have been regurgitated by others so many times that it would ill serve to mention them again now. I will only express my own feelings.

It amuses me that while I am in the grocery store I see so many one handed cart drivers trying to manipulate the aisles. The other hand is plastered to their heads. Now I can understand the convenience of checking with someone if an item or two can’t be remembered (we’ve forgotten how to make lists), but the conversations that I unavoidably sometimes hear occasionally make me blush that people will talk about such intimate details in public. I will admit I sometimes come close to sharing intimacies here on my blog but I sit here in isolation by myself. I’m not talking to the entire crowd of shoppers at WalMart.

I resent hearing cell phones go off at church. One can’t really even say “ring” any more because we are bombarded with all kinds of “cute” attention getting sounds. A couple of weeks ago the same phone could be heard five different times during the service. I was so nearly tempted to stand up and say, “Answer the damn thing whoever you are.”  But my GA (guardian angel) kindly kept my shoulders pushed against the pew so I wouldn’t embarrass myself or interrupt our minister’s message. He was trying dreadfully hard to ignore the annoying sound. It is announced every Sunday to please turn the cell phones off, but it’s almost a given that at least one will ring, play Bach, or pass gas sometime before the end.

I had a new experience last week when my friend and I attended The Time Traveler’s Wife.  Two young girls arrived after we did and sat down directly in front of us. During the movie the girl to my left pulled out her cell phone and started texting. That light is quite bright and distracting in the darkened theater. She put it away and I ignored the situation. After she had done it the fifth time, I was really going to stop being  just annoyed and tell her to put the phone away. I don’t understand it. She pays for a ticket, as did I, and then ignores the movie in favor of whomever is at the other end of the text.

No one is getting through to these people. Where have the boundaries of rudeness receded to? There is a girl in CA who texted over 300,000 times in a month. Her response, “What can I say? I’m popular”. I read a few moments ago the comments of a young girl who felt it was rude of someone not to answer her texts because she took the time to write it. Now it’s the fault of the receiver? I don’t think so.

Studies have been conducted on teenagers exhibiting the side effects of sleep deprivation. It seems they are texting each other far into the early morning and suffering health consequences from it. Isn’t it about time to come to our senses?

The original phone hung on the wall and had to be cranked. We’ve come a long way since 1876. We no longer have one phone in the center of the house for all to use and to listen in on conversations. As of 1999, in the US there were 86.1 million subscribers, 32% of the population. I will some day take the time to see if I can find more recent figures because between 1998-2001, the number of cell phones increased 29%. “Worldwide use of Cellular Telephones, 1999.” World Almanac and Book of Facts. 2001: 571. We are not limited to our homes. Sometimes, cell phone useage by others is just plain annoying. Some times it’s just plain hazardous to our health and the health of others. What too many people don’t realize is that they should take seriously the fact that cell phone useage and texting should be eliminated while we are driving planes, trains, or automobiles as has been the cases of causes of “accidents’ in the news lately. The statistics are horrendous. We take for granted the safety of the insides of our cars. We shouldn’t. Namaste. Attic Annie

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2 Comments

Filed under Casual conversation, diary, general topics, life, musings, texting, Uncategorized

2 responses to “Texting and talking to the max…hazardous to our health

  1. atticannie

    I’m hoping that those who text while driving will take this video to heart even if it IS staged. Considering the number of jaded people out there with an “I don’t care it won’t happen to me” attitude, I’m wondering how effective it actually will be.

  2. Agreed! I have gradually made more use of my cell phone in the past year or so, especially with my oldest being away at college. But I have no desire to talk on the phone while out shopping, or with friends, or at sporting events. I talk on the phone all day at work. I don’t want to do it in my free time. And I would never text while driving, but it does scare me the number of people who probably do.