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With cell phones, there’s no need to look up anymore

Amanda's Approach

I have a formal complaint to file against all things, from chatty classmates to inanimate objects, for interrupting my looking-down-time.

In an ideal world, I would be able to continuously look down at my phone while walking without fear of what I can't see or without feeling obligated to make eye contact with passersby.

When I'm texting and walking, it's pretty inconvenient to look up. Looking up disturbs the flow of my Facebook stalking and my hurried responses to my mother's "good morning" messages.

So can't we all just agree to let me look down? It's becoming more and more tiresome to look outside my immediate peripheral vision.

I'm tired of worrying about running into telephone poles, moving cars, poorly placed mailboxes, benches and the occasional human. I'm tired of having to lift my eyes up in interspersed moments to make sure I'm not about to walk off a curb. I'm tired of checking to see if I have the right of way - there's certainly no time for such an act. Plus, I'm really skilled at texting while walking if you omit all these nonsensical obstacles.

You see, looking down at my baby blue iPhone with the dent on the bottom is my favorite way to spend any sort of in-between occasion in daily life. From the spare seconds at the crosswalk to the pauses in conversations, I love looking down at the illuminated screen and scrolling through each application.

What else would I do while I'm walking to class, standing in line at King Café or waiting on a professor to begin a lecture?

Those are my precious moments for snapchatting, instagram-ing, retweeting and sending far-fetched emoticons. During these moments, I have no patience for following traffic patterns. Can't you see my thumbs rhythmically typing? Can't you see my fingers tapping?

If it wasn't for the streetlights and the opening doors and the overall signs of life happening around me, I could easily walk anywhere and never actually look up. These things, quite literally, are in my way. My eyes would rather stay perpetually glued to my Twitter feed than look up to see the happenings around me.

Beyond this tiny lit-up screen, a small child could be learning how to ride a bike, the sun could be shining in a particularly unique way or a friend could be waving, in vain, to capture my attention. But I'd rather just keep scanning through Instagram profiles (preferably without having to dodge that aforementioned bicycle).

I'm saying all of this now, in hopes that maybe these complaints are not just of personal concern, but perhaps a university-wide issue. Maybe we can band together and outlaw anything that gets in the way of texting and walking and keeping our heads down. Maybe we can all cut out the act of looking up.Wouldn't it be nice if our classes, relationships, meetings and meals were simply the filler in between our string of text messages and snapchats? Wouldn't it be nice if we switched the priorities? If we could go throughout our whole day with tired eye sockets and fuzzy headaches, which are just the minor side effects of staring at cell phones and typing in young people codes for extended periods of time?

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And while we're at it, let's cut out listening with undivided attention. Isn't that a bit old fashioned in the age of constant buzzing and instant notifications?

I'll be honest. It may sting a little bit when I decide to have a real-life conversation and my friend pulls out their phone. But at the same time, I get it. It's the urge that rises slowly and then all at once -- to reach into my jean's pocket and pull out my iPhone and tap any button just to see what shows up.

I understand the need to respond, to check in, to update, to scroll. And we're all experts at listening while texting by now anyway, right?

It makes me think: yes, this is how conversations should always be and how meaningful friendships were meant to be. Life is certainly best when seen through the peripheral. We're not missing anything. We don't even have to look up at all.

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