It’s just weeks into the fall semester here in University Town, USA. Football season has started and so have the traffic jams. It’s not necessarily the paying customer fans that heat up the highways and byways. We permanent residents, the locals, if you must put it that way, have two options that are popular: Go to the game and go with the flow (actually no flow, since the traffic is jammed), or run errands just between kick-off and the last minutes of play. During those few hours, the stores are quiet except for the game being broadcast. It’s probably the safest time ever to be on the roads during the fall semester. And after the game is the most deadly time, win or lose.
After several years during this season, I’ve recognized that even experienced defensive drivers are at risk when young drivers are behind the wheel catching up on their “correspondence”. I am still appalled when I see anyone taking a turn through a busy intersection with their phone up to his ear, and now with texting, which can be done somewhat surreptisioulsy, we can be lulled into a false sense of safety.
The need to be in touch with others all the time blocks out thinking that can bring one to their realities. The reality that there might need some changes made, the reminder to call someone who has been promised a call, revelation that there could be a marvelous purpose in life beyond what’s evident now, and a strategy to put that purpose into action.
I’ve witnessed students and co-workers, usually young ones, who incessantlty talked on their cell phones during their breaks, often loudly arguing over the same topics each day, no doubt boring the other end to death, when right in front of them were people who had wisdom and experience that could enrich them if they just got into the conversations right in their midst.
Being in University Town is a learning experience, as I guess it should be, and a challenge daily, but especially as the newcomers begin to navigate this new environment, on the roads and on technology.