How about leaving the thing (mobile phone) off?

Grace period over, police warn covert texters

Drivers are slipping back into “old habits” of using cellphones while driving and are now taking their eyes completely off the road to text covertly, police say.

Police have ended their grace period for drivers caught using a hand-held cellphone and are reporting a significant increase in the number of tickets being issued.

Although only 275 tickets were issued nationally in November, the month that driving while using a hand-held phone became illegal, Sergeant Scott Richardson of Christchurch expected it to be a lot higher now.

“When it came in we thought there would be tickets everywhere … but the compliance was awesome. But people fall back into old habits.”

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It may be me but would it not live a lot easier if we just leave the thing off or put it off before we go into the car or get into a conversation?

It has been less than a few decades ago that we did not use mobile phones simply because they were not there. And look at us now, I read articles about what the appropriate age is for kids to have a mobile phone about our continuous distraction and the risks associated with it especially when we are driving. When was the last time you were in a conversation where there was not some distraction because someone “just had to take this call” to find that apparently you conversation partner “had to talk about that movie or other program that was on tele last night” or otherwise matters that could simply have waited. Then coming back into the conversation there is the well known “where were we again.”

The police here is warning us about falling back into old habits, texting while we drive and since that is illegal now, we do it covertly. WHAT IS IT THAT IS SO IMPORTANT THAT YOU ARE WILLING TO RISK YOU OWN LIFE AND THAT OF OTHERS that needs to go into this text and could not wait until you were in a situation where you could do this safely? Just the other day, we almost got run over by someone that was actually leaving his premises and while backing out from his driveway was also busy texting, so busy in fact that he never saw the people at the end of the driveway. How sad is that?

My idea: just leave the thing off when you get behind the wheel. I know, I know, I am probably sounding like I am from another planet. But really, looking back at my own mobile history I know that while I was not that inclined to pick up the thing in the first place by myself, the tone of a message or a call coming in seemed irresistible. So, that problem was sorted quickly. And it had another advantage, it stopped using battery power especially important if your going through some of the no reception areas on the South Island.

And is it not the sameĀ  in social or business meetings. What is the message you are really conveying when you are letting yourself be distracted by those mobiles all the time. What are you telling the other side of your real time conversation if you are there sending texts messages while having a conversation? Imagine this: you are having a cup of coffee with a good friend and at some point he turns around with his or her back towards you to start another conversation, and from that moment on whenever you talk, you talk to your friends back. Well that in a way is what you are doing. I know I have been guilty of myself.

Always Connected… Come on?

With mobile connectivity came the myth that we needed to be connected and available wherever we are. And in all honesty it certainly has its advantages at times but, … at times. But most off all I cannot help but feeling that this continuous connectivity is nothing more thanĀ  a big distraction and mist of all another wake to fake you way to an impression of importance. And funnily those that really are usually have someone to take their calls when they are not there. And for the rest, “what’s up?” … “nothing much and twittering about it” … “how r u” … “here with guy pretending to be busy, pub @ 6?” …. In the meantime the person on the other side of the table is talking an you are NOT listening?

Seth Godin, I do not recall the specific of the where and when anymore, talked about how the social net is providing an opportunity for a lot of fake. I think the same applies to the mobile thingy for as far as the two can still be separated. Yet we are made to believe that this is essential. I remember some time ago in the Netherlands I had to get a mobile phone and entering the shop explaining that, the lady said:


Well duh for making phone calls or am I saying something strange here?

And true I have been using my mobile phone to take pictures for the reasons outlined in my world through a mobile phone post. But that was born out of an accident. What bothers me is that in all our ‘connectedness’ we do not seem to be realizing how it also created a ‘collective shallowness’, great for those that do coaching and consulting on how to have a meaningful conversation again as that is what we have apparently been losing as a craft.

I guess as far as I am concerned the answer is simple where it comes to step one in the program: DARE TO LEAVE THE THING OFF AT TIMES, so you can focus on what is really important at that time: your driving, your present conversation or meeting, enjoying your walk outside without distractions.

And those that see this not as an option I suggest make that one very important template that you can use to answer texts messages coming in:

“DROVE OFF A CLIFF (alternatively: against a tree) TRYING 2 ANSWER UR TXT. SEE U IN HOSPITAL OR HEAVEN.” A one button reply ready to go for when you mess up.