Cell Phone Abuse and Miracles

My early morning walking view, with eyes straight ahead.

My early morning walking view, with eyes straight ahead.

Many of you know that I delight in the early morning joy of walking my heart out, and my lungs and my muscles. This week, during my normal 7 a.m. routine of walking the S.F. bay area shoreline with my four-legged companion, Henry, I note that I see more top-sided humans than I used to (compared to, say, a few years ago).

walking with cell phone, texting

Top-sided human, eyes down to cell phone.

Remember when, back in the day, people strolled the neighborhood – sidewalks or nearby hills – and nodded to one another as they passed, maybe even calling out a cheery, “good morning,” or “so good to see you out and about, Mr. Brown!” Well, no more niceties now during the Age of Cell Phone Abuse. Nearly everyone has their heads turned down to their cell phone, to… what? Peruse the latest e-mail from a friend? Read their newspaper, check out the gossip on Facebook, twitter a quote to a stranger?    But look what they’re missing right in front of their noses, if they’d only pull their noses, and eyes, front and center. In the early morning mist, pelicans cavort like babies in a bouncy house, racing back and forth, diving deep down and then soaring upward, to savor the school of visiting herring. 

dog, golden retriever, walking along San Francisco Bay

Henry, chuckling.

A woman with her two little bichons passes me and my big monster of a dog (to a bichon, an 11-year-old golden is a big bad scary beast). The white furry animals bark like seals in heat (and yes, I know that sound, since in the spring I hear the randy seals by the bay shore rocks, barking away).

The embarrassed woman gets out her big guns, a spray bottle, and I hear the swish swish of water aimed at her doggies as Henry and I leap by. I swear Henry’s head twirls toward them, chuckling at their humbling discipline.

And then there’s the man sitting in his car at the depot museum parking lot, reading his newspaper, which is propped up over his steering wheel.  I notice him almost every morning, and make up a story. His wife kicked him out, again, and he’s getting his early morning coffee and front page read before he goes back home and asks for forgiveness, again. When my imaginings are more creative, he’s a C.I.A. agent who knows that soon a spy for the ‘other side’ will be passing secrets at any minute, here, in front of the bay and the pelicans and the seals, threatening world peace unless he’s stopped.

railroad museum, SF Bay, walking, miracles, trains

Railroad Depot Museum, at dawn.

But sometimes I just listen to my footsteps on the concrete path, tapping in exercise mode; Henry’s paws on grass, muted and happy;  the hundred pelican wings swishing in harmony, ethereal and magical; tiny dogs barking in the background and a woman’s soft voice chastising, “quiet now, quiet.” Swish Swish.

Can you hear those sounds, while your head is down, perusing your cell phone?

Does a tree make noise when it falls in the woods, and no one is there to hear it?

What magic do we miss, when our eyes aren’t front and center of the everyday wonder occurring right in front of us every second?

I ponder these thoughts as I peer through the small museum’s windows, windows that overlook the bay and the creatures who live in and around it. To my surprise, I spy a tiny Santa’s elf, playing with the big toy trains that are tooting around and around the platform.

I snap a quick picture – will it turn out, or is he a figment of my imagination – and continue on my magical walk.

Cell phone in pocket, eyes straight ahead.

magic, Christmas, Santa's elf

Santa’s elf!

26 thoughts on “Cell Phone Abuse and Miracles

  1. GOOD – I agree – how much one misses by living w/cell phone in ear in the gorgeous outside; in the mall; with friends; they are missing “life” Marcia


  2. When did our cellphones stop being tools to make our lives easier and start taking over those lives instead? Lovely post, Pam! We’ve become a nation of sorcerer’s apprentices! Thanks for reminding us how much we miss out on when our eyes are closed to the unplugged world all around us.


  3. My daughter laughs at me because I don’t know how to use my phone properly. Also because my phone is very old and doesn’t have a lot of modern functions. Just as well as it is very rarely charged. 🙂


  4. Remaining in the present is hard with so much noise competition. DH and youngest can’t understand how I can take a 7-hour drive and never turn on the radio. When out for a walk, I want to see the world around me and listen for God’s voice. In a sunrise, in the chirping of birds, in new buds in spring, in the scurry of a squirrel… He never disappoints.


  5. I try to disconnect when I walk my dog and just be present in the moment. Because our minds need those breaks. It’s when our thoughts become our own again. And the coolest things are sparked. 🙂


  6. When I see a young woman more interested in her cell phone than the baby in the stroller she’s pushing, I’ve got to wonder what kind of interactions the child actually gets from its mother. Like you, I’m of the generation that uses a cell phone as a phone, not a message receiver/transmitter, not a computer, but a device to contact people in an emergency. I don’t even use it as a camera because I don’t know how to download the pictures once they’ve been taken! 🙂


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