A little more than a month after returning from the southwest I still find myself reviewing images from that trip. Most of them – like this one – are just kind of “average” photographs. Not bad, but nothing to get excited about. Taken at a formation known as Double Arch, this composition interested me only because of the two people standing below the first arch. Again, though, nothing special. I was basically taking pictures simply because I was hauling a camera around – a heavy camera. I don’t even know why I brought it along on this little excursion. It was practically high noon. Red rocks aren’t exactly at their best at high noon.
Then I zoomed in on our two little friends. Son of a bitch. They’re texting (or maybe tweeting). Just standing up there underneath one of the most interesting natural structures in the western hemisphere and they’re texting. If you look at this severe crop, you can see it pretty clearly.
They appear to be two young girls doing what 99% of all teenagers do – “living” through their smartphones. Now I suppose this might come across as a “rant”, but I really don’t understand this. You’re standing in the middle of something that most people never even get to see and you’re glued to your smartphone screen. Although I suppose it’s possible that I’m being too critical. Maybe they were justifiably awed, took some pictures, and then decided to send them to all their friends. Or maybe they took short videos of each other making funny faces and now they’re putting them on YouTube. Maybe. But I’m guessing not. I’m guessing that what they’re actually doing is carrying on the same “conversation” (a term I use very loosely in this context) that they would have been engaging in if they were home sitting in their respective bedrooms. Talking about anything and everything – except what they’re doing. Right now.
I’ve learned two things from all our travels. First, beware of the dreaded bus people (I think I’ve mentioned those folks before). Once they get turned loose they’re like a runaway herd of cattle. If you don’t get out of the way, they’ll mow you down. Heaven help you if they’re staying at the same hotel. But that’s another story.
Second, keep your eyes peeled for people (especially young people) carrying smartphones while they’re walking on a trail. They aren’t paying attention. If you’re standing on the edge of a cliff somewhere admiring the view and you see one or two coming your way, find safer ground. And hope that they see the cliff before they walk over it.
Things get better, of course, if you’re out of range of the nearest cell tower. Then they have to put the damn things away, for a few minutes at least. But then they start to act like they’re going through some kind of withdrawal. Lost in a lost world. Without electronic contact. They have to actually deal with real stuff. Touch things. Smell things. And, horror of horrors, they might have to actually talk – using real words – with another actual human being. An activity they’re not really familiar with.
One last thought (directed at my two phone-hugging grandchildren): Why isn’t it possible to just call somebody? You know, like we used to do way back when. And talk to them. Why not just do that instead of exchanging 3 or 4 texts on a single subject? Wouldn’t it be quicker? Wouldn’t it save all that typing on those little tiny keyboards? Wouldn’t it keep us (us “old-folks”) from having to try and figure out what all those 3-letter abbreviations mean?
Just a thought……..