2016 Grateful 35

Am just a tad gobsmacked at how gobsmacked I am that Germany has come up with the bright idea of putting traffic lights in the ground so that people on their phones might have a better chance of seeing them. How clever is that? And how sad.

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Smombie – a mutation of smartphone and zombie – is a new word used to describe the hordes of people who walk around on glued to their phones. A clever mutation. But so sad.

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In China, there are pedestrian lanes for those using smartphones and those not using smartphones. Another clever reaction to how life is changing but again, a sad reflection of society today. And it has to be true. I read it all in the Guardian.

So much of what’s around us goes unseen. We’re glued to our screens. Phones, Kindles, Tablets. And while we’re busy staying in touch with our worlds, the world around us goes unnoticed.

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Ages ago, someone somewhere commented on my thing for taking photographs. They said that I never really look at anything. Never really see it. Never really appreciate it. I argued at the time that my search for one great photograph meant that I looked at so much more, and noticed so much more, and saw so much more because I was always engaged with what was around me.

My photos may never win prizes. They’re often out of focus. I might look at them once and never again. I don’t print them. Or put them in albums. Or really share them, except in blogs. But in taking them, I see. My camera makes me look up. It makes me look around. It makes me pay attention. And I’d much prefer to be looking through a lens than looking at a phone.

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And when I’m not looking at doors, or graffiti, I’m looking at shop signs. Particularly old-fashioned trade symbols that tell stories about what’s being made, when it started, who’s in residence. So much detail. So much missed.

I think I’ll keep looking up, and keep looking around, and be grateful when I don’t trip over or bump into someone. It definitely beats the alternative.



3 Responses

  1. Oh how sadly true. We used to use telephone boxes, or the phone at home. We wrote and posted letters. Above all we talked to each other, even to strangers. We read news papers and books. Well I guess some of us did, all or some of those things. Have we gained or lost; measure for measure I think we’ve lost. Far more than just the theoretical time we have gained by everything becoming immediate, this instant, not in an hour or tomorrow, but NOW !!!!!
    The same has happened with people, there was a dream that as work became more mechanised, more people would be employed but each working less hours. Oh NO, how stupid, more technology means less people employed and greater profits for the share holders. People are too expensive to employ and can be a liability, use as few of them as possible.
    Example why have two people to run a train, Guard and Driver, when the Guard can be dispensed with, and the Driver can do both jobs. Just think of all those wages saved !! Sorry, just a bit Jaundiced, in truth “pissed off”, with much of the modern world and it’s ways.

    1. “Oh how sadly true”

      Someone has said that over time about any, and all, change.

      How sad that tablets and phones replaced the PC.
      How sad that CDs replaced tapes and records.
      How sad that television replaced radio.
      How sad that radio and film replaced vaudeville.
      How sad that cars replaced the horse and carriage (and how sad local governments had to then install traffic lights to prevent auto accidents at intersections).
      How sad that the printing press replaced illuminated hand made manuscripts.
      How sad that gunpowder replaced the bow and arrow.
      And I even guess in some pre-historical moment someone even said how sad that new fangled fire thing replaced eating raw meat.

      Change is a natural part of life. Change is not sad. But how one reacts to change may be. Food for thought. 🙂

  2. I for one say Kudos to Germany. They recognized the current social condition and moved quickly to address it. No different than cities a century ago realizing they had to put in something called “traffic signals” at intersections to deal with that new thing called the automobile. And I am sure it was a realistic and cheaper solution then sticking their heads in the ground, ignoring reality, and then paying numerous hospital bills when people were hit by a tram.

    And you are thinking too much like a tourist. Those lights are for the locals, not you who finds all those local attractions so interesting as a tourist. The locals have seem them every day, for maybe the past 10 or 15 years on their walk to work. You may find some hanging signs a new and exciting photo op, but to the locals they are no more interesting, or noteworthy, than you walking by your kitchen sink. So, why berate the locals who just want to be their own type of “Internet tourist” and escape their local repetitive, redundant reality on their walk to work?

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