Danger! Natural Selection at Work!

Bob has a new mobile phone.

Do you remember Bob?

Some of you may remember him from when he and I went on a mighty expedition together. The report can be found here. And, as an update to that report, I can now reveal that Bob eventually found his way back home, much to his wife’s chagrin as she had already cashed in his life insurance and taken up with a new man.

But that’s another story.

Anyway, Bob has a new mobile phone. And, being Bob, he was insistent that it be the latest, most up-to-date, all-singing and all-dancing mobile phone, with more apps (whatever they are) than…something that has lots of apps.

He has an app for everything; an app for navigation when he is out in the countryside (naturally!), an app to help him choose whatever he is going to buy if he needs to go shopping, an app that gives him a weather forecast. He even has an app that tells him when he needs to eat or go to the toilet.

Heaven only knows how he managed to cope with life before the phone.

But, there is a downside to all this.

We went for a walk and, sure, we didn’t get lost. This was because Bob had his head over the phone the whole time. We didn’t get lost, but Bob bumped into twenty seven trees, fell in two streams, had an altercation with a herd of cows, tripped over almost fifty tree roots and finally walked into the bus stop.

And he had no idea of where we had been or what sort of countryside we had passed through. Rather a waste of time, really.

Now, Bob is not unique in this, oh, God, no.

The sidewalks in our town have become dangerous places since these phones became popular. I’m beginning to get seriously cross with the number of pedestrians who march towards me, head over their phones, and not even walking in a straight line, so it becomes quite difficult to avoid them. And should I have the temerity to perhaps cough discretely to let them know I’m there, or even to feebly call ‘look out!’ or ‘excuse me!’ I invariably get a glare and perhaps a few muttered words about not looking where I’m going.

And it appears to be an almost universal phenomenon now.

We get more and more news items about these people walking into the paths of vehicles, or off the edge of cliffs, or finding other similarly stupid ways to get killed.

Perhaps it’s a modern form of natural selection? I don’t know. Large numbers of idiots seem to kill themselves the same way taking ‘selfies’ (what a f*cking irritating word that is!), so perhaps there is something in that.


Jaipur – a random photo. Don’t try it here! 

I first became aware of the truly frightening potential for these sort of incidents a few years ago in India. Some of the driving on the switchback roads in the Himalaya is notoriously terrifying in any case, but to then see these fellows also using their phones while driving just made it even more frightening.

And then there was the girl I saw with a mobile phone ‘doing a Bob’ across an extremely busy Calcutta street.

Yet, she survived.

If there is anything in the theory of natural selection, then the future belongs to her!

50 thoughts on “Danger! Natural Selection at Work!

  1. I’ve seen this in London. Tourists walking around following the guide on their ‘phone with their heads down, missing all the wonderful buildings and scenery.
    I must admit I have used this when I’ve been with Martin. We came out of a theatre late in the evening and as I was unfamiliar with the area I got a bit disorientated and as it was cold I asked Martin to use his ‘phone app as I was concerned about him getting cold (if I was alone I would have happily wandered until I found what I sought).
    This seem to be happening in Nepal as well when I was there (2015). Most of the porters had ‘phones with apps and as they carried their loads they wandered with their heads down (probably not following a map app though).
    Good to hear about Bob.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There does seem to be rather a lot of it. It’s not a gripe against technology, but how many people use it. It not only has it’s uses, but in some cases can be a real life-saver. In the majority of cases, though, it’s just being used for the sake of it, and frequently in a pointless way.


  2. Last time we were in Venice I noticed that EVERY single gondola passenger was taking selfies–presumably so that when they got home they could finally see what Venice looked like that time they didn’t look around…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t know…..If we want to be sure this is Darwinian evolution finding a way to propel the human specie forward, we should put it to test. Maybe make it open season on all people “doing a Bob” and see how that works out? 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Loved, loved, this post! I also hate the word “selfie” (who thinks of these things?), and am so sick of the way people ignore their surroundings to stare at their phones these days, often causing mayhem in their wake. But you have offered a shred of hope: perhaps this really is nature’s little way of weeding out the idiots…..

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Technology is indispensable. I was on a trip to far East recently. It seems the entire belt is smartphone crazy and selfie addict. You can spot almost everyone sporting selfie sticks…especially, women!

    In India, using a mobile phone while walking or driving on a road is akin to suicide, If you survive…it’s your luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It does seem to be indispensable, although we did seem to manage somehow before it came along. I don’t have a problem with the technology (other than selfie sticks, of course!), it’s the way that it gets used that becomes the problem.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Traveling somewhere and spending the whole time looking at your cell phone makes about as much sense as traveling somewhere and spending your whole time shopping in the same chain stores you shop at back home. I don’t get it. As for selfies? It’s a real indicator of how self-absorbed many people are. And we wonder why so many folks only want to see the world as they would like it to be, rather than how it is.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t, either, Dave. I don’t know whether it’s partly an age thing, but I watch people wandering along the sidewalk, head over their phone, thumbs bouncing off the screen, wondering ‘what the devil are they doing?’ And as for s*lfies (I really cannot bring myself to say the word!), why are people so narcissistic? I briefly followed a blog (no names, to protect the innocent) which I quickly found featured a dozen or so photos each post of the writer’s travels – but every one was a s*lfie. I couldn’t stand it, so unfollowed it.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. This made me giggle, Mike. Next thing you know, people (in the US anyway) will start suing the phone manufacturers because they were hit by cars or walked off cliffs. As part of the settlement, phone manufacturers will have to provide written warnings telling new phone owners not to walk into traffic or off cliffs while using their phones. The lengths we go to protect people from themselves…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: An Author Page, a Relaunch, and, well, Other Things. – Mick Canning

  9. Bob has become a cult it appears. Today itself saw a girl in Mumbai doing a Bob on the road. She was walking in the middle of the road with the headphones plugged into her ears, oblivious to the honking of the autos and cars behind her. Very interesting read, Mick. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Ishaan Sharma

    Very true indeed. But I feel phones are useful in many cases. We must blame not the phones, but the people. Take away their phones, and they will have another fairly good reason to walk off cliffs.

    Liked by 1 person

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