Try self-test before taking tech outside
Despite commonly held misconceptions, almost all Digital Slobs can walk and chew gum at the same time. We just choose not to.
Slobs know that in the Digital Age, the path to mediocrity is paved by a crew of multitaskers with tar rakes in one hand, and PDAs in the other.
There's a reason "being at the top of your game" is never used in the plural. Ever see Tom Cruise open a movie while shaving? Ever see the Queen of England christen a ship while posing with snaggletoothed British school kids? Of course not. All four of those tasks require absolute focus -- and three of them involve sharp edges that can lacerate your flesh like a sushi knife if you're not paying attention.
Likewise, in the United States, getting from Point A to Point B without making a pit stop at Point ER requires concentration. Unlike many global markets, where more people routinely travel cattle-car style in subways, trains, buses or, well, cattle cars, Americans insist on grabbing the wheel, almost as a rite of passage.
Whether piloting a Jet Ski or a pair of Nikes, only we know where we're headed next, usually about a tenth of a second before we start going there at top speed. How can we enjoy a Shakira video at the same time?
With this in mind, I decided to conduct a street test.
For my test group, I randomly selected myself. True, it's a small sample size, but after extensive psychological testing, I discovered I'm a perfectly typical American in all but two respects -- I don't drink coffee and I have no patience for "Deal or No Deal."
For transportation, I picked walking, arguably the safest form of self-controlled locomotion, and the only one GEICO would authorize without upping my rates.
For my portable device, I chose my Verizon LG-VX4500 cell phone -- the one I got free with a two-year prison sen- I mean service contract.
For a tool to gauge my levels of attention in various settings, I chose the Tetris video game.
To establish a baseline, I played Tetris 117 times in the office uninterrupted, except for once when my boss demanded a prolonged explanation. He bought that this experiment was not just an elaborate ruse I concocted on the spot to explain getting caught playing Tetris in the office. The game he interrupted was tossed out to avoid tainting the sample.
On average, I scored 19,713.14 points. The results below show my contrasting scores while walking around in various public locations.
Downtown sidewalk during lunch hour (231 points): Play was halted immediately after an executive secretary slammed me into a hot dog vendor cart.
In the mall (1,249 points): Almost got into a rhythm, but then I tripped over a rock garden relaxation fountain on display at Bed Bath and Beyond.
Elevator (6,743 points): Fine going up, but I had inner-ear issues on the way down and had to suddenly get off and rush to the bathroom.
In line at the post office (27,002 points): Highest score ever. Could've kept going, but my cell phone battery died.
Conclusion: Enjoying portable media requires users to be in a passive transport system, an office with a gullible boss or, optimally, inside any federal building.
Once I can afford the liability insurance, I plan to replicate this experiment while chewing gum.