Can we talk, please? Texting while (fill in the blank), has given credence to the unflattering adage of being unable to "walk and chew gum at the same time." Cell phones have already elicited an unusual rudeness from otherwise thoughtful people. The texting feature has added impolite, unsafe and insensitive to the rudeness equation.
Texting, per se, is not the problem. It's the texting while, that has gotten out of hand. A recent driver on Manhattan's Canal Street looked up from the device in her right hand long enough to stop at a red light. With her left hand holding a large takeout coffee cup, her eyes dropped back down to her right hand as she proceeded through the light change. Perhaps a more sure sign that texting while is getting out of control was seeing a New York City police officer, in full uniform, exiting a Brooklyn subway station, head down and thumbs blazing over her PDA as she walked to her destination. Eyewitness identifications are already difficult enough. When the taxpayer paid professionals are not paying attention, the convenience of always having information at your fingertips becomes problematic.
Fortunately, courteous urban pedestrians have made it a point to avoid those inconsiderate persons engaged in texting while walking. But it is only a matter of time before texting collisions will result in sidewalk rage becoming the pedestrian equivalent of road rage. When that happens, one can envision the insurance industry adding texting to determine their risk premiums along with age, gender, marital status, smoking and drinking.
Sadly, for far too many Americans, texting is now the rule. It's the walking and driving that are the exceptions. Sadder still, is watching young school children texting the time away as their IPods and MP3 players blow out their eardrums, oblivious to the wealth of knowledge residing in their backpacks. It is clear that this country's education establishment has far to go in increasing the poor and lackluster reading levels of America's children. And pity the poor children who will be expected to advance their skills by reading something other than TWITTER or FACEBOOK (LOL).