Listen, I know it was an accident. I know she could have gotten hurt. Yes, it could have happened to anyone (OK, that I’m not so sure about). And no, I’m not being generous when I think it’s funny.
But there’s a reason the Woman Falls in Fountain video is making the rounds and stacking up comments from people who mostly are not sympathetic to the surveillance video’s soaking wet subject. Not because Americans generally, or Internet users specifically, are a mean lot. Not because anyone has it out for Cathy Cruz Marrero, whose life changed that fateful day last week in a Pennsylvania mall, when she failed to notice she had walked into a fountain, so distracted was she by sending and reading text messages.
No, everyone loves this video because, well … because we’ve all been that fountain!
Distracted texting is a huge problem and one that puts our safety at risk. (I say this as the mom who defended Russian baby yoga. I’m not the type to secure my children in bubble wrap, I swear.) I have been rear-ended in my car by a woman texting. Recently on my way to the preschool, I was forced into another lane after a texter — on a busy road, mind you — started drifting.
My daughter was walked over by a texting mom at a store over the weekend. Walked on! Did the woman apologize? No, she glared … at me. Me! As if I hadn’t taught my girl to stay out from under her distracted texter feet.
Marrero, incidentally, is suing the mall after its security officers released the video to the webosphere. I’m sympathetic with that. I’d like to know what the courts have to say about that.
In the meantime, she went on Good Morning America (with her attorney) to ask viewers to consider her feelings. Salon‘s Mary Elizabeth Williams writes that, sure, while it’s funny, indeed we should have a little more heart for the tearful Marrero.
But call me an Angry American. Call me a mean internet user. I can’t help but think of Marrero as a representative of all those people so distracted on their cell phones and texting while driving. I watch her as if she is a spokesperson for grown women who can’t be bothered to not walk on little girls! And I see her hit that low fountain wall, fall in, and crawl back out while the world goes on around her and all I can think is: OK. That looks about right.