No way ever become one of ‘them’ lol

I caught myself being “that guy” again the other day. I don’t think I was holding things up too much, but if you were the cars behind me in the drive-thru and disagree, well, sorry about that.

There I was in a long line at a local food establishment (I guess ice cream on a Sunday night isn’t all that unique of an idea — who knew).

It was a nice night to idle with the windows down and relax, but for some reason I couldn’t just sit there. Before long, I was picking up my phone and swiping my way to the Internet.

Might as well check headlines while I’m sitting there, right? After a few seconds of that, it was time for a change. I know, let’s play a game. Pull up the Hearts app and deal, I’m still a few cars away from ordering.

That’s when it struck me. I was turning into one of “them.” You know “them.” Heck, a few of them might live with you disguised as kids. People forever checking out their phones or tablets, walking down the street (or waiting in line) oblivious to the world around them. All for the 4-inch portal into information and games that one may occasionally even use to talk to someone. I thought about texting my wife while I waited to fill her in, but I guess that would just be pouring gas onto the fire.

We’re told that our attention spans are getting shorter, our social skills handicapped and spelling and grammar butchered by our little electronic friends. At least that’s what I read on a tweet one day. But we’re quick to say that’s the “other guys.” Or better yet, blame it on a generation younger than your own. After all, I write my text messages out. No “c u ltr @ hme” for me.

But I had better be careful. It’s creeping up on me. The text message count is going up each month. Idle time without checking in is getting shorter. I’ve had magazines in my car for years for lunchtime reading material, but I never felt the need to grab one while waiting in a drive-thru lane. So why is the phone magically pulling me in to fill even little bits of down time? 

I’d grab my phone to Google some research into that question, but I’ve been on this topic for quite a while. I think I’ll switch. See, no attention span problems here.

Can’t they buzz off?

Our little friends are back. At least they’re hanging around our place more than I care to have them. Have they been by to see you yet? I think part of the reason is there’s been a little more rain this year than last, but do we really have to be penalized by mosquitoes?

It seems like last year there just weren’t as many mosquitoes around as we’re used to having. It was a dry year, I’m told, and that’s what kept the numbers down. I didn’t really care much why it was, I just knew I was able to spend more time outside around twilight without swatting at the pests or itching because of the ones that I didn’t see first. It was kind of nice.

But all the sudden one day last week, there they were again. It was almost as if my house was producing them because everywhere you walked around outside, a small swarm was forming. I thought about a pre-emptive strike of walking around the house emptying a can of bug spray, but sometimes that just seems to make them mad. Not to mention I’d probably inhale more than them and put a hole in the ozone at the same time. So I just figured a long summer of repellent was ahead of me.

It took until one night this week for one to get brave enough — or hungry enough — to attack. So I have notched my first kill of the season. But he went away fat and happy because it was pretty well dug into my arm at the time.

I guess if we’re going to have mosquitoes, we might as well keep getting rain. They’re here anyway.

Well, all but one anyway.

Russ Batenhorst

Don't expect to detect a common topic or theme in Russ Batenhorst's weekly column in the Hastings Tribune. Usually it's whatever slice-of-life observation pops into his head just in time to make the deadline for it to appear each Friday.

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