CNET: We’ve all run into them on crowded city sidewalks, often literally. Those oblivious individuals who stride down our shared urban walkways while talking or texting, often bumping into strangers, tripping over small children, or having close encounters with local wildlife. What if we could relegate obsessive multitaskers to their own lane, freeing up half the concrete for fully alert pedestrians? That’s the premise of an upcoming National Geographic Channel show that created a “No Cell Phones” lane on a Washington, DC, sidewalk as part of a social experiment. Judging by early reports and reactions on Twitter, cell-based segregation seems to be a failure, at least early on.
According to Yahoo, a TV crew for a show tentatively titled “Mind Over Masses” divided one block of sidewalk into two lanes, one marked “No Cell Phones” and the other labeled “CELL PHONES: Walk In This Lane At Your Own Risk.” The cell phone-friendly lane was further subdivided with helpful arrows attempting to show talkers and texters where to walk depending on their chosen direction of ambulation.
Cell-phone segregation has been a failure thus far? No way! What has this country come to? Can a man not walk head down, phone in hand, dangerously weaving in and out of others on a sidewalk anymore without being bothered? DC has gone soft on us, America, and it’s not the best city to set such a poorly thought out example. That’s part of the fun about texting on your phone, trying to multitask. It’s nearly impossible to fully hear and comprehend anything directed at you while you’re mid text, but we try to pretend we acknowledge them anyway. Walking and texting go hand it hand nowadays. The exhilaration I get from knowing I could bump into anyone at any moment, or even get hit by a car, is truly unparalleled. It’s a beautiful thing.
They’re calling it a social experiment, I’m calling it a bunch of garbage. “Cell-phone segregation”… Do you even hear how ridiculous and unfathomable of a concept that is? This idea sucks, and it will accomplish nothing. Hear me out. The danger of texting while walking on the sidewalk is primarily the risk of bumping into someone, right. You are accepting that peril when you lock eyes with the screen. But it Joanie is walking one way on her phone, and Chachie is walking towards her, alert and aware of his surroundings, Chachie is gonna be able to dodge Joanie and all other people who are not paying attention. People who walk and text are essentially zombies moving slowly in one direction. The people who are trying to get somewhere quickly are bobbing in and out, doing spins, juking, hurdling, whatever it takes to get through the crowd. What this cell phone lane does is eliminate that group of people. You are taking out the people who can see people texting and are aware enough to avoid a collision.
Now we have one lane of zombies who are all walking with their heads down basically on autopilot. Seems pretty safe. And the other lane is made up of people who are often walking full speed or even running to get to their destination. That is INFINITELY more dangerous. You know when you are basically right in front of someone and you both make a move to go the same direction and then back the other way and then you’re basically dancing with them swaying side to side until someone goes the opposite direction? You know many times that’s happened to me with someone texting? Zero. Because I go right past them because THEY’RE NOT PAYING ATTENTION. You know how many times I’ve done that with your average person not texting? Like one million. That’s my personal hell I think. Walking somewhere where I really want to be and not being able to get there because everyone walking in my direction keeps going the same way as me. I hate that shit.
Did I just twist your brain into knots or did I just twist your brain into knots? And to add onto all of that, nobody is gonna give a shit about lines on the sidewalk. People walk where they want to walk. Anybody who adheres to such nonsense is a clown, plain and simple. Might as well make them wear big shoes and big red nose while they isolate themselves in their weird, text-permitted sidewalk lane.
PS- I’m probably the best walker in the world. My ability to move quickly through crowds is unbelievable.