Dear Ted and Jody:
Watching people walk around with their attention glued to their hand held devices, I have tentatively hypothesized that they are leading an online life of some significance. I conclude that for they pay more attention to the device than they do the poles they walk into, the stuff they tread in (in some cases it is fresh), or the cars that almost run over them.
I sat down in a McDonald’s (all the coffee us old geezers can drink at less than a buck—a small upfront cost and free refills, almost for life at our age), to try to take some serious field notes about HUMAN DEVICE BEHAVIOR. I got to thinking drop the c and e add a small insect and one gets more interesting behavior- deviant. But, then, there might not actually be a difference. So maybe device behavior would be more interesting that I first thought.
The first major problem with my observation site is coffee builds up and one has to interrupt one’s observations for periodic coffee drainage. Let me amend that to “very frequent coffee drainage.” However, I did notice on my trips to the little boy’s room that even the older patrons were stuck in their devices. A number of the very old ones, those a few years younger than I, used laptops or what I recognized as e-readers. I asked one using an e-reader if he liked it better than paper books. His reply was “I can actually read this. I can get the font big enough to see.” I asked one using a computer how long he had been using it (it was a model I recognized from the 1980s). “It’s a hand-me-down from my grandson; [he] gave it to me last year.” So, I asked him how he used it. After the confusion about turning it on and hooking up to Wi-Fi with a gizmo, I learned he watched his children’s and grandchildren’s Facebook posting, “And I follow Trump.” I didn’t pursue the latter, preferring to think of the man as intelligent and that he followed Trump for the amusement or drama rather than as a red-necked racist (he already had two indicators leading to that conclusion, he was white and he was male. I could have nailed it down with a simple question, but decided not to ask his religion). So, I never found out how long he has been “hooked.”
As I looked around more, I noticed couples sitting with each concentrating on his or her own device. Communicating with each other electronically so they couldn’t be overheard by those around them. That I concluded from a time some 10 years ago when I took my niece and three or her friends to a movie and they texted and giggled rather than spoke even then.
The morning had been cloudy, severely cloudy. But, I noticed the east lightening a bit. So I pulled out my device and aimed it in that direction. I completely forgot about my study of device behavior and went out to shoot the day. Attached are two of those shots, one this morning and one this afternoon.
Then I shot a branch on a tree with leaves making an interesting pattern as they experienced early onset color change from green to brown; and then, I came home and played with in in Photoshop to get this:
When I got back home I remembered I my mission to study device behavior. Maybe I’ll get back to it Thursday. In the meantime, I am hypothesizing, tentatively, that it is evolution’s latest attempt to quickly change the human species through its survival of the fittest model. Now it is important to remember that the fittest may not be the best in any context other than those that survive to reproduce in changing times. So, as devices cause more and more deaths of users and those they run over while texting as they drive, perhaps, those with the will to resist being captured by devices will pass on more genes than those who are captures by cell phones and the like. One can only speculate. Down deep, evolution’s only concern is that we finally fit in to our environment. If it doesn’t get it right soon we will be the last land species standing as the oceans rise and we all drown.
Warmest regards, Ed