The text trot

November 22, 2012
This article was published more than 2 years ago.
Est. Reading Time: 3 minutes

By Tyler Welch

I’ve got a proposal that I believe could alleviate a great deal of pain and suffering from the lives of students and faculties alike on this campus. Let me paint a picture for you.

It’s 12:27 p.m. and you are speeding through hoards of young students on your way from MDCL to TSH for a 12:30 p.m. class. You think to yourself, “Of course, I’ll maximize my travel efficiency and cut through the Student Centre. This way I can make it to class on time!”

Now, you’ve had trouble with this before. Getting from class to class can be tough during the lunchtime rush on campus. Another tardy and your prof might make some kind of snide or sarcastic remark upon your arrival. “Once again, Tom?” “Is your watch not working today either, Beth?” Imagine it. You could never handle that kind of embarrassment - a terrible episode of public humiliation. This is your driving force as you weave in and out of nurses and engineers, duck under plates of pizza, and spin around briefcase-wielding faculty. All seems well. You are nearing the stairs, only a few students and the Arts Quad stand between you and your successful pursuit of punctuality. Suddenly, the student in front of you slows down – he/she is trying to text and walk at the same time. You must slow your pace as well. You’re trapped in a prison of low-speed walking all because this guy/girl has been unable to master a simple skill - maintaining walking speed while simultaneously drafting and sending a text message.

I know, it is a vivid and horrifying image but sadly, thousands suffer from similar circumstances every year. Something must be done.

McMaster should construct some sort of training area or practice facility. This simulation venue would be created with similar characteristics of many Mac buildings - doors, walls, chairs, garbage cans and other students. A more advanced facility could even be set up to mimic situations with a higher difficulty level like food areas and bus stops. The idea would be to produce a benchmark of text-walking standards. Upon entry to McMaster, each student would be required to take a simulation test in each of the practice facilities - nothing too rigorous, just a replica of a simple, every day scenario. A student might have one chance at the first test and be allotted two chances on the more advanced test. If this student passes each round everything they can continue on with their education with no more thought or hassle. However, not all will fare well. For some, this is a difficult undertaking. For these students, a short training program would be compulsory.

This would be an amazing step in the right direction. Furthermore, a kind of infraction system could be implemented. Anyone who is found stalling others in the hallways a certain number of times would be required to take a refresher course on texting and walking.

Not only will this be an amazing way to relieve pain and suffering from the student body, but great for the local economy. We would be creating jobs - trainers for the practice facility, overseers to enforce the infraction system. The list goes on.

I am not suggesting anything too drastic or radical, just a simple solution to a common problem. Of course, this is just a thought - an off-the-cuff comment on an important issue. There will be more brainstorming. This is only the beginning.


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