This morning I was standing in my driveway, pondering the Vatican across the street, wondering why they’re covering that gorgeous stone wall with tall, leafy plants, when a cute young mom ran past. She was running at a pretty good clip, right down the middle of the street, down the steep hill, while pushing her baby in a carriage, while pulling her little dog along on a leash, while talking on her cellphone, laughing. Look Ma! No Hands! She didn’t notice me; she didn’t notice the new plants at the Vatican; she had no idea there were 2 cars inching along behind her, kindly giving her space.
I had coffee with a friend and we talked about the Audrie Pott sexual assault case. At an April 15 press conference, Audrie’s stepmother read from her Facebook posts in the aftermath of a party: “My life is ruined…I am in hell…The whole school knows…My life is over…” Audrie committed suicide. Audrie was 15 years old.
My friend lives in that school district. Her son is in the 8th grade. She was telling me that a girl in her son’s class texted a topless photo of herself which has, as they now say, “gone viral.” My friend had to have the talk with her son — you know, the new talk about what you do when you’re just a kid and you see or receive inappropriate images on a cell phone.
Do we really need to take The Pledge, vowing not to text while driving? Do we?
If you’re walking down the sidewalk, staring into your phone, why are you so angry when you run smack into me? If the parking lot is full and you see me waiting, with my blinker on, to take your parking space, do you really need to check your texts and emails before pulling out?
This afternoon I took my big brown dog to the park. Two young mothers were sitting next to each other on a bench, staring at and tapping messages into their phones while their children played. I saw a little brown-haired girl, who looked to be about 4 years old, wander over the path and through the weeds and up the hill to see what was going on at the Vatican. A construction worker walked toward her; he bent down to talk to her. I saw a small boy slip and scrape the back of his leg on the concrete surrounding the sandbox. He started to cry, which scared my big dog, so my y big dog barked at him, and I yelled at my big dog to stop it while the boy swiped off the blood and looked around the park, wondering, perhaps, if someone, anyone, might come running.