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October 27, 2011

Situational awareness and the smart phone

i. I was 8.  I walked up to Tommy Lasota and his friends; his smile abruptly changed and I was pummeled by one of his minions while others watched.  A big kid broke it up and said to me "sorry kid ... but you lost" as he laughed and walked away.

ii. About 12, riding my bike with a friend one day, just barely rolling along care free.  I looked up to feel a roundhouse kick to my upper body.  My friend and I were bike-jacked.  A cousin and his friend happened to drive by and we found the kids and our bikes.  Based on how we apprehended the bikes, I would say the thieves wet their pants fleeing the scene.  Heh.

iii. 17 years and newly licensed.  My best friend and I are at a drive in, speakers on poles (foreshadow) and everything.  We were drinking beers and tolerating the film.  A bunch of kids walked toward us on the way to the concession stand.  I glanced in the rear view mirror and noticed a few paused to look at us.  When I looked to my right to warn my friend there might be trouble, I noticed one had his arm around Pat's neck and was punching him.  The guys were fighting through the large open window of my 2 door Laguna.  I started the 350-4 barrel and the car lifted up and out nicely.  We swung the kid into a pole, clearing him off the side of my car and off my friend's neck.  We're not sure what happened to him,  but it was a great night. 

iv.  etc.

Events like this inevitably shaped my world view.  Social distance is a big deal for me. I pay close attention to the expression of a new acquaintance who gets a little close.  I feel deceived and fluff up when a friendly interaction turns to a sales pitch.  I'm not entirely proud of the fact that any given moment, I'm ready to pitch my glasses (they're pricey) and take a shot or throw one, depending on the situation - even though that opportunity hasn't presented in decades.  It's just the way I am.  I am keenly aware of my surroundings.

This brings me to my current parenting concern. 

I recently embraced the smart phone and remain in awe of the information I carry with me.  My public display of phone usage is greatly affected by the adventures of my angry youth.  I don't stop in the middle of a path of foot traffic to check mail, send a tweet or message my wife about tonight's rotobird dinner.  Rather, I pull over, look around, then lower my gaze while trying to maintain my peripheral vision as best I can while doing all ... that.

I almost look forward to my daughter getting a phone; she laughs when I tell her when I got my first one.  The handheld computer/phone is more good than bad.  However, the behavior I observe when they're used frightens me.  Had they been around when I was more of a hoodlum, I might have cashed in.  Swiping one's wallet or purse is too easy, even kids who aren't thieves might be enticed.

And now I'm left wondering something more philosophical.  Should I teach situational awareness or will I be teaching something negative about the world that isn't true?

1 comment:

Mike E said...

Isn't there an app for that?