I’ve often written about how it’s become the societal norm to be the equivalent of an electronic zombie…. By this, I mean you can rarely walk through a public space without seeing the majority of people looking down at the screen of their smart device as opposed to watching where they walk or even speaking to the people they’re with. Although I can admit to the allure of having the world’s information at one’s fingertips at a moment’s notice, sometimes it can be extremely important to pay attention to one’s environment and the little details you might miss.
We’re currently having our basement renovated as a result of water damage we suffered during a rain storm last year. Once the damage was done, we had all the furnishings demolished and hired some contractors to come brace the basement. For those of you who don’t live in Regina, Saskatchewan where the soil seems to shift and move as to fuck with one’s peaceful home existence, bracing involves the placing of steel beams against the concrete walls to prevent heaving and shifting of one’s foundations. Most homes in Regina and the surrounding area get this done, but as our home was built in the 1960’s, it was never done. Yay, us!
Long story short, we’ve finally decided to move forward and get the basement renovated so that it’s a liveable space again. It’s increased the level of chaos in our household in recent days, directly competing for the title with our children. Between framing, levelling the floors and spray foam insulation, we’ve tried to arrange outings to get the kids out of the house as much as possible to get them away from the inevitable noise and smells associated with this renovation, especially the foam insulation. This means that I’ve inadvertently turned myself into one of the electronic zombies I described in the first paragraph, with my days being split between texts from my wife, messages from contractors as well as emails and phone calls.
As a result, I’ve had my face buried in my phone far more than I usually would. Last Friday, it nearly bit me in the ass. Almost literally. Almost. I was dressed for work and as I knew my wife would want to take the kids out of the house while they installed the foam insulation, I left the car in the driveway and took the public bus, instead. Taking the city bus during the early hours of the morning is an interesting experience. It’s usually pretty empty, given the hour, but you’ll often find a mixed array fo people like myself who are heading off to work and a few ragged individuals who may be making their way home after spending the night somewhere “else.” Wink, wink, as I digress…
Anyway, I was walking towards the rear of the bus (as my instinct is to always have my back to a wall) and was about to take my preferred seat on the “passenger” side of the bus when I took a moment to glance up from my phone to look at the seat. The dark blue vinyl appeared to have some black flecks on it, which didn’t match the other seats. I gingerly touched a finger to one of the flecks and noted that my fingertip came up black and stained.
I wear a suit to the office and today’s “ensemble” featured a light, charcoal or grey suit, which would have looked a bit on the ridiculous side, had I sat my rump down on whatever the hell this shit was. If I had to assume and based on experience, I would say these were black shoe polish flakes. Being as I was on a bus, I had no access to anything to wash my hands and had to wait until I got to the office to do so. If I hadn’t taken my eyes off of my bloody phone before sitting down, I might have stained and/or damaged my suit. I’m just glad I used my left hand to touch the polish.
That’s why it’s so important to look before you leap. I know everyone absolutely loves their smart device and the digital world is used for almost everything these days. In fact, I’ve started doing virtual distance challenges. But while indulging in the digital frontier, it’s important to remember that the physical world not only still exists, it merits having close attention paid to it. You never know what you might miss while your eyes are down. Food for thought…☯️