Smartphones

I’m driving through town and the first thing I notice is that everyone – and I mean EVERYONE – is on their phones. It’s a cliché to say it, but it’s never been more apparent. I can’t help but wonder, what are all these people doing that’s so important?

I’m stopped at an intersection and I see a cyclist weaving through pedestrians taking a quick glance at his phone. He’s probably just checking the time. There’s a man near the taxi rank who looks concerned, who I guess is talking to his boss. There’s a pretty girl sitting under a tree swishing her hair around. She’s got a huge grin. She must be video-chatting with her boyfriend. Finally, there’s a guy recording a street musician. The musician is glaring at him. The guy with the phone obviously hasn’t dropped a dollar in the musician’s hat yet. The light turns green and I pull away.

Thud!

I’ve hit a pedestrian.

She walked straight into my front bumper. Her head was down in her phone. Now she’s lying motionless in the middle of the street. My heart stops.

I’m frozen behind the wheel. I don’t know what to do. Someone starts screaming at me from the footpath.

I turn my hazard lights on and step out of the car. There’s a lady hurling abuse at me, like I hit the pedestrian on purpose!

The lady in the street sits up and picks her phone off the bitumen. With her legs straight out in front of her, she continues typing on the phone’s screen. Without averting her gaze she stands and walks off.

I shout after her. The woman who was screaming at me is silent. She’s just as confused. I chase after the lady that I hit, but now people are screaming at me to move my car.

By the time I move it off the road the lady is gone. That text message must have been pretty bloody important! I pick up my phone to report the incident to the police. The lady that was hurling abuse at me a moment ago sneaks up behind me and starts shouting. “Look at you! On your phone! Typical!”

T

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