I did a little traveling recently and in one day I was in three airports and two planes. That’s not unusual in today’s world of travel. My flights were great with crew members who adored my service dog and did everything they could to make us both safe and comfortable. I even had enough time between flights to get from my arrival gate to the main Atlanta terminal so my dog could relieve himself. Not only that, but a friendly TSA agent who was on his way home escorted my to the relief area since directional signs were essentially non-existent. To top it off I had no trouble re-entering the secure zone of the airport due to more helpful TSA agents. So far so good, right?
The only thing that caused me any grief was my fellow travelers who, like me, were moving quickly along the concourse to or from a gate. More precisely, it was the people who insisted on staring down at their mobile phones as if all the world’s wisdom resided there (hint from someone more experienced and who might be a little wiser: anything that has so many cat videos isn’t a font of wisdom).
These smart phone obsessed individuals never looked up. They kept looking down and woe to those who didn’t get out of their way.
So there I was, carrying a backpack, a purse and holding the leash of my happy-footed service dog who had spent too long lying quietly in the first airport and the first plane. We were moving! And then we needed to break to the other side of the concourse to buy a bottle of water for the dog and some food for me.
I looked for an opening and we broke left. Suddenly there he was; a young man in his early twenties holding his phone in a death grip and staring at it while completely ignoring anything and anyone around him.
I feinted right, then back to the left. He continued to look down. Then, with the grace of athletes, my dog and I slid past him missing him by an inch or two.
Other bloggers who have disabilities have written about such situations. In some the person with the phone runs into a wheelchair from either the front or the back and ends the encounter by yelling at the person using the wheelchair because the wheelchair user must be at fault.
Here is my unsolicited advice for all you phone addicts: look up. I can even give you three good reasons to look up.
- All that looking down will cause neck problems over time.
- It’s a safety issue. You might run into someone or fall into an open sewer access hole.
- There is an incredibly beautiful world out there with all kinds of fascinating things to look at, even or perhaps especially in an airport.
So take heed and take care. Put your tray tables up and lock them. Return your seat to the upright position. Don’t look at your phone until you are no longer moving. With luck, you will see me next time we fly.