Are you traveling with your head up?

Most people are aware that texting while driving (TWD) is a really bad idea not to mention illegal in many states. Being distracted while driving can be tantamount to a catastrophic end for the driver as well as an unsuspecting motorist or pedestrian.

How about being distracted while walking? If you live in or near any large city you have to know to what I am referring. People are walking down the street staring down at their mobile device, texting, emailing, or doing whatever but barely looking around to see where they are going. This past summer I began to walk more than ever around New York and I am making no exaggeration when I note that at least half of the people I see walking down the street are interacting with their mobile devices but not the world around them.

I made a conscious decision to not TWD (hey it’s just stupid), but I have also made a conscious decision to not walk down the street staring at my phone or texting the entire time. Why? You miss all the things that are going on around you. When I walk from Grand Central down to Soho to the office in the mornings (no not every day) it takes about 40 minutes. It’s a great way to start the day. I get some needed exercise as it is about 2.5 miles (4K for you non U.S. based readers), but I get a great deal more out of it than exercise.

Taking a slightly different route each time offers me new things to see. NYC doormen (door people?) are a rather friendly lot when you actually make eye contact with them. Saying good morning often brings a smile and a return greeting. There are parents taking their kids to school, store workers cleaning sidewalks and setting up for the day, people of all professions going to work (or breakfast I imagine). The city seems alive with potential and just life in general. I think about things – lots of things. What I will be doing that day, that evening, that week, or the coming weekend. I allow the stimuli to help open up my thinking about things that are on my mind and the combination of fresh air, and getting the blood flowing really helps me look at things with a slightly different perspective.

I’m not saying I would never answer the phone or check for a message that I was waiting for as I am walking to and fro. However in keeping my head up I somehow feel more connected to what’s going on around me and I actually feel sorry for those that have lost touch with such a simple pleasure – at least that’s the way I see it.

Do you walk around with your head up?

About markkolier

Futurist, entrepreneur, left lane driver, baseball lover
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8 Responses to Are you traveling with your head up?

  1. Mark,
    Great post. I wanted to add that I’ve been riding my bicycle to work almost every day as well. And along Manhattan’s West Street bike path, I have passed, on almost a daily basis, bikers TWR! The lane is narrow enough as it is, passing joggers, skaters and mothers pushing carriages. Imagine these idiots weaving to and fro while glued to their smartphones. Unbelievable!


    • markkolier says:

      Thanks for the comment Mike and yes that is unbelievable. I remember being in Japan watching bike riders carrying umbrellas riding up and down stairs and thinking that was nuts. Hopefully they have not graduated to texting while doing all that!


  2. Great piece, Mark. I notice this all too often. As a bigger guy it creates many obstacles for me to weave my way through those walxters (my word for people who text while walking). On the surface it seems like a safe activity, but when two walxters collide or when one trips, as I witnessed yesterday (walxter fell down the stairs into a subway entrance) it can be harmful.


  3. Back when I was a smoker I used to light a cigarette while driving while making a turn while tuning a new radio station while shifting gears and waving to the girl on the corner. But I wasn’t distracted.


  4. Tom says:

    Just as a common courtesy, people should stand to the side or out of the way if they need to use their phone for a call, text or whatever, as I actually have somewhere to go and probably I am running late. Aieyah!


    • markkolier says:

      Add to that (wonder if it is indigenous to the U.S.) people that have phone conversations in the train seat next to you as if they were alone or worse – as if we were actually interested in their conversation. Thanks Tom.


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