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Watch Out For (Stories About) Walking and Texting

By Margaret Lyons in News on Jul 28, 2008 10:51PM

2008_7_28.txt.jpgToday's big danger: Texting while walking! Holy moly, is it ever time to be afraid. Particularly of twin bullshit stories, neither of which identify anyone who has actually been injured. To the Sun-Times and the Tribune:

Anecdotal evidence from a 30-something woman
Trib: "Kelly Scheiner of Streeterville had many errands to run... And so, a silver Nordstrom bag draped over her left forearm, she marched north on Michigan Avenue, crossing Illinois Street at a crisp clip, thumbs firing on her BlackBerry....'If someone's [crossing the street] and not looking, it's safer for the pedestrian' to avoid texting. Still Scheiner admitted: 'Of course I do it. I'm pretty careful. I try to be. But I'm sure I've hit someone or something once or twice.'"
S-T: "Cynthia Goodman said she's never hurt herself badly while texting and walking. But the 38-year-old South Sider admits that she bumps into people and trips over things 'all the time' while fiddling with her [phone.]"

Dramatic quote from Northwestern chair of emergency medicine's Dr. James Adams
Trib "'Summers are ruined,' Adams says. 'It's an emerging trend and one that has not anywhere near peaked.'"
S-T "'It's amazing how instinctive it is for people to [text while doing other things],' Adams said. 'Texting is kind of like hearing. It's almost another sense.'"

Some kind of musing on what texting says about us
Trib: "'There's this sense of compressed timeā€”an expectation that we should be able to multitask and disengage from the larger world,' said Mark Reinecke, chief of psychology at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine. 'We should be in connection with others at all times, and respond to them immediately.'"
S-T"'It used to be people knew how to stroll, and strolling was a peaceful, rejuvenating, happy thing,' [Adams] said. 'Now that people are trying to text and organize and do all that stuff, do people know how to relax anymore?'"

Bonus points
Trib: Article includes an entire section on the neuroscience of multitasking
S-T: Does not use any annoying text puns