Heads down society

Mobile devices control people’s routines, relations

Heads+down+society

Marci Suela / The Advocate

By Manning Peterson, Staff Writer

Prologue — Last month my curious, scholarly 8-year-old grandson, “Mojo,” asked, “Hey grandad. What did you do when you were a kid without a computer, smartphone or the Internet?”

My simple, concise, honest answer was, “Everything, baby boy, everything!”

Have you intentionally observed or paid limited lip-service to this serious sensational social shuffle which has overwhelmed the good ol’ United States during the past two decades?

Or is the reason you haven’t noticed because you are an active advocate and participant in the eye of this technological tornado?

If so, you have unwittingly become a charter member of our heads-down society.

Any actively-aware American adult can accurately associate with the recent holocaust of high tech horse manure such as the iPod, Facebook, e-reader, smartphone, notebook, iPad, Kindle, Nook, MP3, email, Android, Twitter, tablet, audible.com, iphone, Internet, Instagram, computers, selfies, etc.

Truth be told here, information technology, (IT) is simply a nominal, conglomeration ploy programmed to create a big-bucks bonanza while confusing, discouraging and or eliminating the continuity and development of personal as well as interpersonal communication skills.

More truth revealed on the reality response rebound is that IT has diminished, defocused and dehumanized family traditions such as conversation before, during and after meals, outings, vacations, picnics and religious ceremonies.

THE UGLY INCONVENIENT TRUTH IS INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY PROGRAM DESIGN IS SIMPLY AN OXYMORONIC FALLACY ALLEGEDLY DIRECTED AT CLEAR COMMUNICATION WITHOUT ACTUALLY COMMUNICATING CLEARLY.

YOU KNOW WHY? BECAUSE THE TRUE DEFINITION OF INFORMATION IS THE PRESENTATION OR DISTRIBUTION WHILE THE DEFINITION OF COMMUNICATION IS GETTING THE MESSAGE ACROSS AND THROUGH.

SO, IT IS ALL TAINTED TECHNO-DOUBLE SPEAK! IT IS JUST IT-STYLE BULLSHIT, FOLKS!

Some relevant recent IT research data reported problem issues with a high percentage of lab students being tested and diagnosed with myopia (nearsightedness) due to staring at screens and constant exposure to IT paraphernalia. No wonder some IT techno-phobes can’t distinguish between information and communication.

I will cite several excellent, exciting examples of involving my exposure and observations of “our head-down dilemma,” in the People’s Republic of Berkeley, California.

Berkeley is an unusual college community cuz life here is inhaled and celebrated like each day is Christmas or your birthday and every evening is a combination on New Year’s eve and Halloween.

It is 2 p.m. on a chilly, cloudy March 2014 Wednesday afternoon here in beautiful, sometimes bizarre, marijuana smoke-scented downtown Berkeley.

I’m walking east on University Avenue to Cal Berkeley’s School of Public Health Library to complete my research on this story.

Suddenly, a dark-haired, mohawked-mounted, 14-year-old Hispanic male wearing a tan T-shirt with the logo of the national Mexican soccer team and riding a skateboard aimlessly ambles into my area impeding my progress.

He is speaking Spanish into a hand- held IT communications device while presumably texting in the multi-task mode.

If I had been a car traveling at 20 miles an hour, his family would have been celebrating Dia De Los Muertos and conducting all-future family reunion festivities at the Alameda County Morgue.

As the young man passed me, a gray Honda Civic pulled through a parking space into the sidewalk. The 20ish Asian-Pacific woman driver was speaking on a cellphone and doing the dangerous dynamics of multi-tasking.

I did a fast fandango to avoid becoming a client of the Alameda County Coroner’s Department.

These are a couple of examples of unobservant cavalier behavior involving IT technophobes which are relevant reasons why pedestrian and vehicular accident rates and insurance premium rates have skyrocketed during the past decade according to the most recent Federal Health Care research data and insurance industry actuarial statistics.

My research route plan was supposed to conclude with a four-block hike south from the corner of Shattuck and University to the Berkeley Central Library at Kitteridge and Shattuck. It was not my plan to include the following, weird, “Heads-Down” episode.

I took a seat at the bus stop on the east side of the library. A short, brown-haired, mid-thirtyish, tension-twisted Caucasian woman wearing the widow’s weeds of a reality-challenged crone in training dragged a young boy up and sat to my left.

She quickly moved to my right and back to my left all in the space of one minute. All this time, she was totally texting and talking on a phone rather than focusing on her primary maternal child care responsibilities.

My bus arrived two blocks north and I stepped up to the bus stop. The texting tornado continued to be deeply involved in her heads down hysteria.

Her son, who had not bathed recently judging from his wind-blown wake, was dressed in the odd garb of a free box fashion show model. He appeared to be 7 or 8 years old.

This youngster walked up and parked his carcass directly behind my behind and remained there for three minutes or so.

Suddenly, he ran over, grabbed his mother’s arm and whispered in her left ear.

She immediately jumped up into my personal space going nose-to-nose and screaming through her halitosis-hardened breath, “MY SON TOLD ME YOU JUST FARTED IN HIS FACE!”

After turning my head to the left to check on my bus, I glared directly into her blinking, reddish-brown eyes and calmly counseled her, “MY DOCTOR ADVISED ME THAT FARTING IS AN INVOLUNTARY BODILY ACTION WE SENIOR CITIZENS PARTICIPATE IN FREQUENTLY, MA’AM.

“NOW, WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO—TAKE IT BACK?”

I never considered asking this angst overloaded angel why her precious precocious genius had moved so close to my rear end that he was able to hear, or detect any intensity of smell from my anal emissions — nor why she didn’t have the boy seated next to her out of fart reception range to avoid any booty bomb bombarding child abuse.

My professional training as a retired chemical dependency therapist who worked 30 plus years and was trained to identify troubled clients answered those two questions.

Once more she barked in another barrage of bad breath, “WELL, FUCK YOU AND YOUR CAL SWEATSHIRT, YOU DUMB, OLD, UGLY N****R! WHAT DO YOU THINK OF MY ANSWER TO YOUR STUPID QUESTION?”

My casual cryptic reply was, “Your manic malcontent manifesto is one simple yet elegant example of the progressive decline of unconditional love in our global civilization.

“AND NO MATTER WHAT YOUR VERBAL CHARACTER ASSASSINATION ASSESSMENT OF ME MAY BE, IF I AM BLESSED TO WAKE UP TOMORROW MORNING, I WILL STILL BE BLACK ALBEIT OLDER AND UGLIER, BUT IT CERTAINLY DOES TRUMP THE ALTERNATIVE.

“NOW, PLEASE ENJOY THE REST OF YOUR DAY UNLESS YOU HAVE OTHER PLANS!”

She was last seen shuffling toward South Berkeley complaining and barking loudly about old black assholes wearing CAL clothing and those living in the White House.

Her head was still down as she continued texting her angry-ass off.

Meanwhile, her resourceful prepubescent progeny was diligently and desperately checking out the potential menu inventory options of the brown and blue garbage cans searching in survival mode for his dinner rations. VAYA CON DIOS, KID!

If you have not had the fate or luck to become a dumpster-diver, soup kitchen client or garbage can gourmet, consider yourself as truly blessed. Millions of folks world-wide, especially children, do not eat daily never mind the recommended nutritious three meals daily.

In the 21st century, our civility choices in America have become bizarre in many areas. My research was primarily focused on recent IT instruments and heads-down behavior. Folks with their heads down looking for their next meal to survive is a non-IT segment of our heads down dilemma.

Here are a couple of sane, sober suggestions and potential solutions to assuage our IT insanity.

GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF YOUR BUTT OR FACEBOOK AND STAY IN TOUCH WITH THE REAL WORLD!