Friday, September 08, 2006

CELLCHOSIS: The Oblivious Plight of the Typical Miami Student

I am a hero. Everyday, I rise to that status. Everyday.

Okay, in my heart, I'm a hero.

But everyday, I bring my bus to a stop somewhere just safely short of a completely oblivious student in the middle of the street, hanging onto some conversation being mediated through a cell phone on the other side of their head.

I watch them try and converse while just trying to get home or get to class or get across the street. Their attention retreats (you can see it in their eyes); their gait becomes slowed, if not cumbersome and zombie-like. They miss their stops on the bus because of the cell phone and they want to blame me for their having missed it.

-Sorry- I don't stop at every stop unless someone wants it.

-Well, you were on the phone when we passed it....

And so on....

Cell phone firmly placed to the ear, they forget the concept of right-of-way at a four way stop, yet I/we lurch to a stop to keep them from hitting us. They keep talking.

There is something a tidbit mind-altering when you are on the phone, engaged in conversation. There is a slight mesmerization and an affectation of the faculties necessary for survival in an urban environment. I call this induced state of mind, cellchosis. Cellchosis is the state of dulled perception and motor function enveloping the user while in the midst of a cell phone conversation. A person is said to be cellchotic when they are standing out in the middle of the street talking on the phone with a 40-foot long 36,000 lb bus only feet away from them- that after having screeched to a halt, preserving their lives and their conversations. Then they glare at you and complete their jaywalk. That is cellchotic.

It's a willful condition by virtue of the fact no one is being coerced to hold the device to their head. The prevalence of these devices are going to collude with some calamitous events one day, I'm afraid, resulting in something bad, like a pedestrian vs. a car, or a bus. We've had those, but I am flabbergasted that it hasn't happened more, or that more serious injury hasn't occurred.

We need to outfit collegiate cell phone consumers with GPS monitoring systems that communicate with a vehicle's speed, distance and approach rate so that it would trip a pre-recorded, deafening message to the phone holder to retreat in no uncertain terms. Perhaps, once cellular devices become seamlessly implanted into our tympanic membranes, I'll have my wish. I'll probably be out of a job by that point in our technological prowess though.

Till then, I'll just be a hero.