As a New Yorker, I’m used to scanning ahead. Let me explain myself. I walk everywhere in New York. I walk because I love walking. If you have never walked in New York, do so. Put it on your bucket list of things to do while still on this earth.
Growing up walking throughout the city, made me a particularly vigilant person. I always walked trying to be aware of my surroundings. Even up to three blocks ahead. I would scan the environment. While New York is the safest large city in the US, it is still important to scan and note any irregularities.
I have taken that New York skill set and transferred it well to my new location of Los Angeles. I’ve noticed that not many Angelinos engage in such a behavior. So many walk around here completely oblivious to everything around them. Do you know how many people I’ve seen nearly hit by a car because they just were in their own private La La Land? It’s an obscene amount. There’s no street scanning here.
What they do instead is scan on the freeway for police activity. On the local news you have what’s called a sig alert wherein drivers (commuters-which is everyone) are warned of severe bottlenecks often caused by a car crash or car chase.
While on the freeway many tend to use a phone app called waze which helps people get across the citu more quickly based on real-time traffic information. One thing that gives me a chuckle is when it notes out loud “red-lght camera spotted agead” or “police activity ahead.” Waze consists of real time information since you can input in the moment what you are seeing and experiencing. People are scanning for cops! Or for cameras that might catch you running a red light.
It amazes me how we prioritize these scans. It certainly indicates we are collectively engaged in doing something wrong. We know it and want to get away with it. Thus, we slow down just a bit when passing the area we were warned may have a cop nearby. We stop at the yellow so as to not get that red light ticket. We don’t particularly care for the laws; seeking the help of fellow drivers to follow those laws in a set instance. Then we go back off on our merry speeding way.
Now as adults we have technology such as waze to help us get away with things. In a way, we are regressing. Little kids and teens will test the boundaries parents set. We reach adulthood learning ostensibly to finally be accountable and responsible. Yet we use gadgets to regress. Imagine if our kids could have an app that alerted them as to the best time of the day to get away with something. Or alerted them as to when we were about to enter the room. It’s probably a technology that is not too far away.
What signals are we sending to the youth of today and tomorrow?