Friday, January 12, 2007

Zombies on Cell Phones

On the way to work this morning, I thought to myself, the good thing about morning traffic is that people aren’t on their cell phones. It’s too early to call anyone for a chat. This logic involved other unfounded logic, such as that people jump immediately on the cell phone right after work, on the way home in thick traffic, because they haven’t been able to talk to their kids, spouse, parents, friend, dog, or cat, all day. It’s understandable. Plus the evening drive home is so time-consuming, a person might as well pass that time multi-tasking. You know what I mean? It makes sense.

So, if my logic is like that, why the average moron on the road is talking on their stupid cell phone as they drive home after work, then it would only make sense that they most likely wouldn’t be on the phone during morning traffic. Who’s up at that time of day that you’d want to b.s. with anyway? Anyone other than Stoker who I might chat with on the way home from work is in a different time zone and therefore still in bed as I drive to work.

As the thought crossed my mind—it’s too early to call anyone for a chat, I won’t see a million people on cell phones—within the very first car I looked into, on the freeway, was a man with his blasted cell phone pressed against his ear. Ha, I thought to myself. What a bastard. Who the hell is he talking to? And then I thought, if only that cop in front of cell-phone man could pull him over and give him a ticket. If only there was a law against talking
on your cell phone without a headset while driving. As I passed the cop, I glanced at him and HE WAS ON A CELL PHONE TOO.

I’m not kidding. It’s the freaking plague. I have it too, don’t think I’m saying I’m immune to it. It’s gotten to where I can’t stand it, though. I can’t stand to be annoyed by how slow another car is going, you know, when the speed limit is 65 mph and some jerk is going forty-five, IN THE FAST LANE. Or I’m waiting at a light behind another driver, waiting to turn left or some other obnoxious maneuver like that, and the car in front of me waits thirty seconds before pulling forward to make the turn, and by that time the light has turned yellow and I’ve nearly missed my chance. That’s thirty extra seconds I could have been at home, putting on my pajamas or feeding the cats or something more important than waiting at a light and battling other drivers for supremacy on the road.

Yes, people drive slower to be safer while they’re on the cell phone, but they also piss off everyone else who isn’t on their cell phone. If we’re all honest about it, we’re not capable of holding a cell phone up to our ears and shifting gears and turning on a blinker and changing lanes safely and being aware of the million other things happening while driving – AND conducting a meaningful conversation with someone not in the car with us. Haven’t you noticed the zombie-look of a cell phone talker-driver? I have. Twice I’ve nearly been hit by people talking on their cell phones and driving. One time a guy ran a red light while I was beginning to make a left turn. As he was gliding through the intersection, he turned and looked at me with this glazed expression like he was trying to grasp what he’d just done. I don’t know if would have realized he’d run a red light if I hadn’t honked my ass off.

Can you tell this subject infuriates me?

Though I’m not immune to it myself, I’m consciously making an effort to NOT call people on my cell phone while I drive. And believe me, it’s difficult because I no longer have a stereo in my truck. Yeah, someone stole it last August and Stoker and I haven’t replaced it. So sometimes I get lonely, but usually I’m pretty content to think about things and listen to the sound of the road underneath my tires – an unusually loud sound with a gaping hole in the dashboard. Sometimes I’ll feel compelled to call one of my many friends just to shoot the bull (by nature, I believe, humans are multi-taskers), but I push the urge aside when I look into the hundreds of cars surging around me and see the bastards driving cars with half-their brains, like drunkards and soulless fiends. In that state, the majority of them change lanes without signaling or checking blind spots, so I have to be extra vigilant in defending my little piece of the road.

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