Tweet Less, Kiss More
By BOB HERBERT The New York Times July 16, 2010
I was driving from Washington to New York one afternoon on Interstate95 when a car came zooming up behind me, really flying. I could see in the rearview mirror that the driver was talking on her cellphone.
I was about to move to the center lane to get out of her way when she suddenly swerved into that lane herself to pass me on the right - still chatting away. She continued moving dangerously from one lane to another as she sped up the highway.
A few days later, I was talking to a guy who commutes every day between New York and New Jersey. He props up his laptop on the front seat so he can watch DVDs while he's driving.
"I only do it in traffic," he said. "It's no big deal."
Beyond the obvious safety issues, why does anyone want, or need, to be talking constantly on the phone or watching movies (or texting) while driving? I hate to sound so 20th century, but what's wrong with just listening to the radio? The blessed wonders of technology are overwhelming us. We don't control them; they control us.
We've got cellphones and BlackBerrys and Kindles and iPads, and we're e-mailing and text-messaging and chatting and tweeting - I used to call it Twittering until I was corrected by high school kids who patiently explained to me, as if I were the village idiot, that the correct term is tweeting. Twittering, tweeting - whatever it is, it sounds like a nervous disorder.
This is all part of what I think is one of the weirder aspects of our culture: a heightened freneticism that seems to demand that we be doing, at a minimum, two or three things every single moment of every hour that we're awake. Why is multitasking considered an admirable talent? We could just as easily think of it as a neurotic inability to concentrate for more than three seconds.