You never realize how much of a ghost town Orono is until winter break. If you even poked your head in around New Year’s, you know what I’m talking about. The bars are empty and the streets are desolate. It’s nice to see traffic jams at 5 p.m. every day again. It’s even nicer to see parking services cruising around on their Segways, ready to ticket me while I try and return an overdue library book. But hey, no hate to the meter-maids, I know they’re just doing their jobs. There are far more dangerous things to worry about in this bipolar icy-safari weather.
Listen, I started playing this game when I was a freshman at UMaine. Every time I walked outside, I’d count people who walked by me. They went into one of two categories: on a cell phone, or not on a cell phone. The vast majority of the time, people on cellphones far outweighed the number of people off of them. This was fine and all, but people walking while texting operate much like people driving while texting, or even like people driving when they’re drunk. They run into people. They run into doors. They trip and fall down in crosswalks. There is a serious issue on this campus that I’d like to discuss with you today, and that is the issue of borderline negligent, downright dependence on mobile phones.
Scenario: You’re biking down College Avenue. It’s 9:47 a.m. and only God Almighty can come between you and your McDonald’s breakfast — or so you thought. The bike lane is your safe-haven, right? Wrong. Time and time again you swerve around cellphone user after cellphone user. They walk indiscriminately, sidewalk, bike-lane, or even in the middle of the road. You thought you were in a hurry? No more so than anybody ever is to refresh their news feed on Facebook or tweet about the crazy cyclist who almost killed them. If a cellphone zombie is also on a bike, you’d better start praying. I recommend climbing a tree or telephone pole until they’re out of sight, because these people are about as trustworthy as Newt Gingrich at the live screening of Miss America. What’s the moral of this Orwellian horror story? Don’t eat McDonalds breakfast. Everyone knows the Verve or Wendy’s is a better choice.
But in all seriousness, what is the matter with people? Put away your cellphone! I bet you’re so wrapped up in texting your BFFL that you don’t even notice that weird dog food smell on Mill Street every morning. The world is full of bright and terrible things to be astonished by and frightened of.
I think we’re being cheated out of our young lives by billionaires who have convinced us that documenting the present is more important than experiencing it. Did you get an iPhone for Christmas? Well I didn’t. Don’t remind me by wagging it in my face while I’m trying to hold a nice conversation about organic food.