In my role as Secretary for Apocalypse Avoidance, sometimes it's hard to be kind.
Sometimes, you see, humanity decides to do things at which even Beelzebub might turn up his red nose.
And so it was, last night, as I was walking up San Francisco's Market Street that I discovered a trend I had yet to witness.
It was just before 6 o'clock in the evening and I was on my way to a rendezvous with a deeper destiny, when a man almost walked headlong into me.
This was odd, because San Francisco has relatively wide sidewalks and relatively few people. This is not Manhattan.
And yet this clearly complex human had decided he would walk to the subway -- or to his hydroponic acupressure session -- while reading his iPad.
Indeed, the cover was nicely unwrapped, forming a little stand so that, presumably, he found it easier to clutch.
It's surely one thing when people walk along holding their cell phones. Though once upon a time, I would bump into these lost souls in Manhattan -- literally and deliberately, to see if they'd wake up from the self-centered myopia -- now it seems relatively normal.
Not pleasant exactly, but normal. Like a lying realtor.
It's as if cell phone pedestrians have taken out their little mirrors, just to check on their makeup and eyebrows. Which they probably have -- on Facebook.
But if it becomes de rigueur to walk along the street reading your iPad, a sense of proportion will surely be lost.
More Technically Incorrect
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- Qantas: Forget the Kindle, read a book we just wrote for you
- Annoyed theatergoer ejected after grabbing cell phone and tossing it
- 'Star Wars' and 'Doctor Who' fans in altercation at sci-fi convention
- Charges dropped against teen in science experiment 'bomb'
iPads are bigger, more cumbersome, and surely more likely to gouge a child's eye, if clutched at the right height.
But what could that iPad have contained that made it so vital to read while walking? An advance copy of Monica Lewinsky's fine new book? A detailed set of directions to Atlantis?
I cannot believe this gentleman had to walk more than 10 minutes to his destination. Yet he felt the need to take up a little more urban width in order to, um, broaden his mind -- or narrow his awareness.
You might imagine that this was a mere isolated incident. You might think this was just a rogue operative, wallowing in a larger sense of self.
But, no. Five minutes later there was another causally dressed office employee, wandering out of a building, already clutching his iPad as he walked.
I would very much like to hear, therefore, whether other cities are enjoying this painful behavior.
Perhaps it already is a vast and uncontrollable trend.
Perhaps that's why Apple is supposedly to release the iPad Mini very soon.