family, life, thoughts

Dodging Zombies

I don’t make a lot of trips to the mall (not a shopper), but I had to get something there recently. As I sauntered from Panera Bread to JC Penney, I found myself in the land of zombies!

angel cellsThere wasn’t a place I could walk without dodging people whose heads were looking down. They were captive to a little lighted screen. It reminded me of the scene in The Time Machine when that eerie siren hypnotized the Eloi, and they followed the sound to their deaths. Except, these 2015 zombies were being mind-controlled by a small, hand-held device. For all I knew, they could’ve been ordered to do something heinous by an evil ruler that hadn’t gotten hold of me yet.

I’m not exaggerating. A few different people never even noticed they were headed right for me. If I hadn’t been paying attention, we would’ve collided.

by stockimages @freedigitalphotos.net
by stockimages @freedigitalphotos.net

I’ve written a few posts before, about how I’m living an an alternate reality. It feels like I’m some old biddy complaining about “the kids these days.” Or, like those who thought rock and roll from the fifties was the devil’s music. There are so many things I just don’t understand about today’s world, from television shows, to the media, to a lack of morality. With technology, people rarely even look at each other anymore.

I unfriended every single family member on Facebook. I’ve taken flack for this, and I’m considered a terrible person for doing it. Before social media, family actually had to call or visit.

text by ambro @freedigitialphotos.net
text by ambro @freedigitialphotos.net

My grandma used to take me shopping and include strangers in on our conversations. Before I knew it, a group of us would be laughing at the food court together, and we didn’t even know each other. Having been raised this way, I have a tendency to chat with strangers out in the world. But now, their heads are buried in their screens, and they don’t even know there are people around them.

I’ve had to be careful walking the dog in my neighborhood, because I’ve seen people veering off to the right or left with their heads down … likely looking at a phone.

My husband and I remembered how we used to not talk to each other all day until we got home from work. Now, we panic if we can’t get a hold of each other during the days.

Will people under the age of thirty understand the value of in-person human contact? Will sending a text or Facebook message be the new way to show  compassion? While technology has made our lives easier, has it really made our lives better?

Have you ever had to dodge zombies? Have you ever noticed yourself captive to the little lighted screen? Would a text of sympathy warm your heart if you suffered a loss?

 

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39 thoughts on “Dodging Zombies”

  1. I’ve watched them on the streets in NYC. It’s scary. Part of my secretly hopes they trip and realize that texting and walking aren’t supposed to go together. They are so busy looking for the next cool interaction online that they miss the world around them.

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    1. So true. Hasn’t anyone ever heard the saying to stop and smell the roses? I think if I would’ve let them walk into me, they would’ve blamed me. 😛 Glad I’m not the only one who finds this sad and a bit disturbing.

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  2. My phone is usually sitting on my desk or in my purse and is in sleep mode. Any tracking that it’s manufacturer and carrier do must be extremely unproductive. 😉 For me, it’s a tool to be used when I need it. So, yes, I’m a zombie-dodger, too.

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      1. Hey there, welcome to the club, zombie-dodger. There are so few of us. Heh. And, don’tcha hate it when that happens with words. I’ve actually written “right” for “write.” We know the difference, but I think as we type, our brains aren’t working as fast as our fingers. 😛

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  3. Ah, yes. Actual conversation used to be the way we talked to each other. I remember being thrilled by the introduction of the cordless phone. That meant I could talk to my friends and family while still getting things done around the house. (Maybe that was the start of all of this disconnectedness. Multi-tasking probably meant not paying as close attention to what was being said on the phone!)

    I’m guilty of being a zombie. After years of being a customer service phone rep, talking on the phone is rarely appealing to me. (Depending who is on the other end of the line,) if I can find out what I need to know through a few quick texts, rather than getting “stuck” in a long conversation, I’m happy.

    I have to admit, though, that when a young friend of mine told me she and her husband informed his parents that their first baby was on the way – via text message – I felt very disappointed, both for her and her in-laws.

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    1. Hey … I used to do customer service on the phone too!

      If I text, it’s usually a brief note and I do it from home, since I work out of the house. If I worked at an office, I’d probably text a brief note or two from my desk. I don’t like to text while I’m out anywhere else. I text a lot with my bff who lives in Chicago, but only from home.

      People (the general public) not only text from their phone, but they surf social media too, which is something I haven’t done at all. I just think they should put it away while they’re out and pay attention to those around them.

      That is really sad about sharing the fantastic news of a baby via text.

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  4. I do think it’s really sad and I find it particularly hard to understand when people announce a death via Facebook. I think it’s going to be interesting to see how this all plays out in the future – whether it’ll get worse, or there will be a backlash against it – in the same way that vinyl records made a resurgence.

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  5. There’s a saying that goes something like: in the land of the blind, the one eyed man is king. I don’t agree. In the land of the zombie you (and I ) would be the odd one out. 🙂

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    1. It’s funny, because I find that what they’re doing is odd, yet because we don’t conform, we’re the odd ones out. Go figure. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and commenting.

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  6. I rarely go to malls but when I do I’m fascinated by the multitude and variety of people before I become overwhelmed and need to get the heck out. What I observe in my city and local neighbourhood habitats is people on their phone and devices in cafes, and as has been mentioned quite ill-advisedly while negotiating footpaths and traffic crossings.
    In some cafes there are signs ” we do not have wifi… TALK to each other!” 🙂

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    1. I know, I don’t go to the mall often either. Love the sign in some cafes by you. I can’t imagine cafes not having wifi here. People would revolt! Ha. Even doctors offices have wifi. Thanks for sharing, EllaDee.

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  7. I have been doing a lot of travel by air lately. I am a good airport waiter because I like to people watch. It struck me that EVERY SINGLE PERSON at the gate was staring at their phone or some other electronic devise. EVERY SINGLE PERSON! I was the only one with a real book in my hands. It made me rather sad.

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  8. It has become a real addiction for a lot of younger people (and for some older ones too). They’ve even convinced themselves that it’s not rude to text with someone else during a (short) conversation with someone real standing beside them.

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  9. It reminds me of the woman who fell in the mall fountain because she was so busy looking at her cell phone. And then there are people who cross the street while texting.

    Of course, as an introvert, I love the ability to text instead of phone and email instead of having face-to-face meets, but you’re right, we need to maintain human interaction, or we can get surprisingly rusty at it. And common courtesy should apply to everything, technology included. Sometimes I think that’s what’s really missing.

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    1. I remember that lady and the fountain story. I recently heard locally, that a woman was hit by a train while on her phone. She didn’t even hear it coming!! Perhaps it can start in the home with parents teaching children to turn off phones at dinner time and when on the move. This can help kids to grow up with at least a little human interaction, but certainly not as much as we grew up with. Thanks for your input, Carrie.

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  10. And that is why I hate it when my fiancé is staring at his hone during dinner. I might aswell talk to a wall, it gives me the same response. I must say I am also guilty of this kind of behaviour at times but I at least try to watch where i’m going. And I never do that during shopping.. Too many carts to dodge.

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    1. I only text when I’m in a seated position, not in the driver’s side of a car, and not in the middle of a conversation with someone in person. I don’t use my Smart Phone for the internet either. There should be rules … no cell phones during dinner, right? Thanks for being honest and sharing your own experiences.

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      1. I can’t type when I walk. When I do type, I stop walking. I also can’t type and talk at the same time. I’m not a multitasker.. But yes. Rules. It’s kind of boring when people only look at their phone.

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  11. I couldn’t agree with you more. I think it’s because I see how obsessed people seem to be with their devices that I still refuse to cave in and get one. It feels sad to me that many think that if they’re keeping in touch through social media or texting then that should be good enough. We’re just not built that way as humans. Rarely do you see anyone make any real effort to just look up, and take the time to even smile let alone talk to their fellow man. On top of that, how often do people constantly say how they don’t have time to do this or that, yet probably spend at least five minutes (if not more) every hour texting and browsing Facebook, etc. If they took that time and added it all up, then they would see just how much time they’re wasting. It’s even been proven that real social (face-to-face) connection is far better for one’s health.

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    1. That’s a great point, Cheryl, about how people say they don’t have time but spend hours on social media. I just caved into a Smart Phone a couple of months ago, but I refuse to use it for the internet. I don’t text unless I’m in a seated position that is NOT the driver’s side of a car. It sort of scares me to even get on the road these days. Thanks for making such great points.

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  12. I dodge zombies every single blasted day. At work, while I am going to lunch, 90% of the people are walking the halls with their heads down. When I am seeing patients and trying to get the histories from their families, they are looking at texts while talking to me, It has gotten completely out of hand. My son has started just walking right into them, he has stopped moving out of the way. I think I might start doing that too. People need to look up!!!

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    1. At doctor’s offices, they should have a sign in the waiting room, “turn off cell phones while in consult with the doctor and staff.” I’ve seen a sign like that at the post office to leave the phone when called upon for service. Thank you for your input, SD.

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      1. They do have signs like that, but everyone is so busy looking at their cell phones – they never see or read those signs!

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        1. Oh my Lord. Well, since they were warned and didn’t pay attention, I’d have no problem telling them to put their phone away. To me, it’s the same warning as ‘no shirt, no shoes, no service.’ 😛

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  13. I agree with you completely, Lori. And yes, I’ve dodged many rude people, who have their heads down, while walking through a public building. Since I don’t text and I don’t own an iPhone, I can’t begin to understand the obsession, but I think it’s very sad. The younger generation don’t know how to communicate face to face. People are missing out on so much around them, and so many opportunities to interact with each other.

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    1. So true, Jill. Whatever happened to the old saying “stop and smell the roses?” No one even notices other people, let alone roses. BTW, I just succumbed to a smart phone a couple of months ago. I refuse to use it for the internet. I do text but only from home or when I’m in a seated position that is not a driver’s seat. Thanks for your input.

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