I walk each and every day unless there is something wrong with me or the weather is a serious nightmare, in which case then l walk on a treadmill or l take a stroll in my garden. Sometimes, l get two walks in a day, but mostly it is one walk. There are other days – as in the weekends when l am taking longer walks or mini hikes. When l am out and about l have a CD player, l am wearing my Fitbit and l have my cybershot camera and that’s really all l have on me.
I don’t carry any ID and l don’t even have my phone with me – maybe foolish, but hell my theory is l am wearing clean underwear so if l get hit by anything at least that goes in my favour … which is always kind of odd and when my mother used to say that to me when young , l always challenged her back with ‘But if we get hit by something, there is a good chance that we will shit ourselves anyway, surely? So does it matter if our underwear is clean or not?” I never won the argument, so l always had to wear clean underwear anyway.
I am a careful walker, a courteous one to boot, l am mindful of other people in my space and tend to think of myself like a car when walking. I stay on the left when l am walking at a slower pace and when l am looking to overtake other walkers l try to overtake on the right, or if the space is clear l use the right side of the path to walk at a much quicker pace and if the space is seriously clear then l am speed walking right down the middle like a wild thing!
However, NOT all walkers are careful like me … many are, but sadly and equally, many are not … they walk in a crazy fashion, they are haphazard, they think like strollers and are unaware to others on the walkways, they hog the left, they hog the right, they hog the middle. Sure the pandemic has increased the absolute ignorance in many people, this ‘the world owes us attitude’ they possess and politeness is at times seemingly a thing of the past. But we can’t blame the pandemic for everything … the thing that gets me the most these days is those who walk and scroll and so many of these clones pretending to be people are completely clueless many a time to so much going on around them.
Not just people, but social distancing, nature, people walking, walking traffic, pavements, hillsides, roads … they walk around like drones being manipulated by their scrolling habits? I have seen people walking together not talking to each other, glued to their phones. A father pushing a pram yesterday afternoon hit me in the back because he didn’t see me! I had stopped at a road to wait for traffic to pass by and he walked straight into me and why?? Because he was scrolling on his phone … he said “”Haha sorry mate, was looking at my Facebook feed, didn’t see you there. Good job you was eh, otherwise l might have got hit by a car with the young un and the wife would have killed me proper!”
I nodded to him and smiled as if to say that’s fine ….. but inwardly thought “WTF you muppet, you are in charge of a child!! Put your phone away!!” But l am seeing this all the time, that people are forgetting social graces and niceties because of their inability to put their mobile phones away. Most of these so called Smartphones l am beginning to think are way smarter than many of their handlers!
But more importantly l have noticed , long before covid and the pandemic arrived – is the loss of socialness in crowds and this is down to phones. People interact with their phones more than they do actual people, and more dangerously in my eyes is people interacting with their phones whilst out walking. They miss so much .. do they not care? Why go outside into the nature, if you are scrolling through your phone whilst strolling? How does that make sense?
Oh right of course, it’s still fresh air … Okay l listen to music, and l don’t have a phone or rather l don’t have a Smartphone, my phone is an old Nokia, that doesn’t even have an Internet connection, it makes and takes calls and texts and more often and not, it lives in the house 24/7. But when l am listening to music l am still looking ahead of myself, l look at the path l am walking on and checking for cracks or holes or slipways, if l see walkers or dog walkers l say hello to them and be social, good morning or good afternoon pending the time of the day … but l am very aware of my surroundings and all that is in it and l appreciate it all. If l am crossing a road, both earphones are out and l am listening for traffic as well as watching for it … l am always mindful.
People who are mindful walkers engage in a form of crowd awareness and engagement of others, they are inadvertently socialising with society and creating routines to social patterning. This in turn means that crowds without even knowing each other are always mindful of each others presence in the world around them – however this pattern of life is broken continuously by people who scroll when they stroll. Like with most things or when a stone is dropped into a pool of water … the ripple effect is like that of a chain reaction .. so when disturbed, it alters the pathway of a pattern and can cause a disruption much further down the way.
Stroller Scrollers as l refer to them as, don’t walk in an organised manner, they are abstract and can be haphazard because their minds are on other matters and not where their feet are heading. Yes, they occasionally glance up, and they can alter their course, but many a time, these distractions cause them to not see where they are going! This is turn effects the pattern of their walking and research has proven that a chain reaction due to a lack of navigation when walking looking at a mobile phone from the point of impact can affect up to fifty people along a designated traffic route. [Think about a crowded shopping centre or mall or a busy street]
Accidents by distracted walkers [mostly by mobile phones, but other accidents such as looking left and being hit on the right and not ‘looking’ both ways as an example] has increased since the early 2000’s and when you read these studies it is remarkably fascinating. I only have to look about me when l am out and about and l am quite oft surprised by how many walkers are actually scrolling and strolling or lolling as their thumbs are rolling over their miniature screens to see how their careless behaviours could impact other people all too easily.
However, all that aside, the questions ….
Are you a ‘scroller stroller’ when out and about or is your phone carefully pocketed somewhere on your person?
Have you ever whilst strolling and scrolling walked into someone, slipped over or had some other type of accident or have you had an accident with a careless scroller stroller yourself?
Let me know below.