American Distraction Disorder

I called my childhood friend Annie the other day. She’s one of my two best friends and I’ve known her since we were four. Over the years I became a second “daughter’ to her mother in my teens then for the rest of my life.

Years later, when I was married and my family was traveling through the world and we met up her Annie’s younger brother, Bob for a few weeks in Bali. Well, he fell in love with a Japanese girl and we didn’t see too much of him!

Eventually we left for Khartoum with a bunch of batik and Bob left for Japan with a new wife.

After Bob and wife #3 divorced I don’t think he ever married again, not important because whatever one marries for, physical love, compassion, security, companionship, good food, everything is right there in Thailand. Thais are Buddhist, a very loving, grounded and non-demanding faith.
So when I called Annie the other day, I inquired about the brothers, particularly about Bob.

“You know I called him in Thailand and spoke with him very briefly. He was on a train, said he had to cut me off because it was considered grossly offensive to talk on a phone in public. He called me back when he got to a less public place.”

So, Annie and I began carping about how thoughtfulness seems to have disappeared in our country of birth. I mentioned my six-hour train trip to North England a few years ago. I saw people talking on cell phones, but heard no voices. Everyone turned their heads away from the public,covered their mouths with their hand, and spoke softly.

I went on and told her I’d been backed into by a texting driver, and later walked into twice by pedestrians, while I stopped at stop signs.

All texters had two eyes and two ears, but their brains were busy with what did you buy today, what did you do last week or what are you going to do tomorrow. Both were hooked up with ear-pods: can’t hear; both were glued to their I-pods: can’t see.
There was no damage of course, but both times I rolled down my window and cautioned them loudly to please remain aware of their surroundings at all times:

“Canya look where yer goin??”

Both glanced blankly at me as they skirted my car and went back to see if they missed anything on line.

Coincidently, our little town had a terrible tragedy some time ago. A young girl was driving an oversize vehicle while she was texting. She did not see the young mother already in the cross-walks and she ran over the stroller, killing the baby.

I cried for everyone when I read about it in the newspaper.

How does a mother get past this? How does a young girl learn forgive herself? Distraction kills. Let’s make a pact to stay focused at all times, well, certainly when we are driving.

Kids are too young to see how cleverly they have been groomed by people who want to sell to them. But the rest of us (should have) lost our ingenuity a long time ago: we know what’s going on! We know we are all just pawns, manipulated to purchase and display our bigger-better-faster-more purchases so sellers gets rich. Let’s go sit down somewhere safe to be manipulated.

Or, let’s say NO! Let’s say it just like that cute little redhead baby girl in the commercial says!


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