Scoutmaster Musings - Plugged In Tuned Out


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Scoutmaster Musings

Plugged In Tuned Out
The regional path was very busy today. I passed about 12 joggers, 9 bikers, and 4 or 5 walkers as I put in my 8 miles and I waved to each one of them. After all, the path is only about 8 feet wide and it's just polite to say "Howdy".
About 75% of those people had wires hanging out of their ears, listening to some music or reading. Is that good, bad, or irrelevant?

I understand that music makes the exercise routine less boring and helps the miles fly by faster. It adds a bit of entertainment to an activity that many don't enjoy. But, the dangers of being plugged in and tuned out are real.

Last year, pedestrian deaths rose for the first time in four years. Electronic devices are the blame. Runners, walkers, and bikers jamming to their tunes instead of paying attention to traffic get hit.

Even on nonmotorized trails, being tuned out increases the risk of harm. Not hearing the "On your Left" warning of a biker overtaking you can cause a collision.

Sound perception researchers say that music affects your thought process. As you attune to the tempo, you may be able to run more easily, but you aren't noticing branches, rocks, curbs, and other obstacles as you should. Your brain tunes out the world as you daydream along which could cause a rude awakening.

My biggest concern with personalized music devices is that the majority of the people using them don't make the effort to say "Hi" back to me. I'm not a bad guy. I smile at them. I raise my hand in greeting. But some just plod along, in step with Justin Beiber or AC/DC, I don't know.

This morning, they didn't hear the red-wing blackbird, the cardinal, the movings of some small critter in the brush, or the splash in the lake. They didn't notice the two young deer chasing each other in the field, the squirrel skittering up the oak, or the far-off turkey. I did, and I loved every sound.

Scout On

Posted: 9:52 08-10-2011 651
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