Sometimes we catch just a glimpse of the whole picture: part of an event, one aspect of a person’s personality, and, (ever-increasingly) sound bites of news that are easily mistaken for the whole story. (Is it ever the whole story? Oh geez. I won’t even start.) We all know how dangerous it can be to recreate a whole pictures out of a snippet that lacks context. I was recently on the other end of one of these experiences, and it involved acorns, traffic, and technology.
The kids and I stopped by a fro-yo spot after a trip to the park one afternoon. We took our orders outside to enjoy them at one of the little tables set up by the road. Now, this part of town is my favorite: the sleepy main road is a charming brick path, divided by a wide, tree-lined avenue down which we love to run and burn off some of the sugar crazy. My son finished his fro-yo first and discovered the abundance of acorns on the ground. Well, if you’re five and you find small crunchy objects near the road, what else are you going to do with them but throw them on the road so that big, heavy cars can smush them to your satisfaction?
As I watched, he stood off the curb, where he had an easy view of the slowly on-coming traffic. He would time his throws so that the acorns hit the road well before a car rumbled past. Pop! Crunch! Ah, it’s the little things. Now, just in case you’re worried, he was well off the road, the traffic was not traffic, but more of a trickle, and he’s a very cautious child.
However-if you are a passerby in the trickle and you observe not only a small boy who hits your vehicle with a deadly acorn but ALSO that his mother was using her phone at the moment this happened, well, no doubt you would have given said mother the death stare I received from the two old ladies who drove by, shaking their heads ominously in their acorn-assaulted vehicle.
After all, how could they know that the little boy was aiming for the road and not the cars, or that I was actually recording his antics to share with his father?
Yep. context-less snippets can be dangerous things. Especially if you’re an acorn.