Life In The Slow Lane

phone on train generic

phone on train generic

(Getty Images/Roberto Westbrook)

BOSTON (WBZ-AM) -- We live in an age of action, to which we are completely enslaved.

Unless we are confined by physical restrictions, no one just sits quietly anymore and thinks. We aspire to have TV’s in every room and in the car, and our smartphones must be keeping the "action" going almost 24/7.

When I ride the train to New York once in awhile to visit my son, I prefer the quiet car, which is only quiet because of the magic of headphones. There’s some beautiful scenery on the Boston-to-New York run, but it feels like every last passenger is glued to their screens.

I guess the coastline hurtling by at 75 mph isn’t enough to keep us from fidgeting.

Our ill-advised capitulation to techno-gadgets has left us inert and depressed, possibly because they’ve compelled us to give up on the strenuous activity of thinking before we act.

No need for that anymore.

Just flip on your phone or tablet and the action quickly envelopes you, requiring nothing but watching and reacting, hopefully with soul-sapping likes and retweets.

But there’s one area of life where, at least around here, the loss of human thought reflex has actually ground things to a halt. That would be on the roads, like the ones I drove on going home last night.

Three separate times traffic was brought to a standstill by people who apparently hadn’t given a moment’s thought to where they were going, and were paralyzed at intersections as a result.

I can only hope the tsunami of honking and invective sent their way by other drivers might have taught these folks a lesson about thinking before acting.

But I’m not holding my breath.

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