Sunday, April 03, 2005

Another Peeve

Well, I warned you. I got so much response to my last "Pet Peeve" post that I'll try another and see if anyone can relate to it like they did to the one about cashiers giving out change.

Do you drive? Of course you do. My daily commute is 32 miles each way, but unlike you urban dwellers most of mine is across the open Texas countryside. Speed limit 70. So the trip takes me only 40 minutes.

Do you ever find yourself behind someone who will drive at the speed limit for a minute or so, and then slow down to 10-15 mph below it? When you're about to pass, they speed back up. And do you notice that they have a hard time staying in one lane for very long? Even if there is only one lane in each direction, they'll cross the centerline or wander onto the shoulder.

This happens to me almost daily. And EVERY TIME, guess what's going on? Go ahead, guess.

They're talking on their cell phone, that's what!

When you get close enough to see the driver, one hand is always holding a cell phone against his/her ear.

Now, many of these people talk with their hands. It's a compulsion, I guess. You'll see them gesturing with one hand while holding the phone to their ear with the other. How do they steer the car? With their KNEES, of course. Which MAY be why they can't seem to stay in one lane.

Have you ever steered with your knees? Of course you have. We ALL have. But not for miles and miles, I hope. If you do, and especially if the wind is blowing (as it always seems to be doing in South Texas), you have to have very active knees and legs to stay in something close to a straight line. And if you are moving your knees up, down and around to steer your car, guess what your right foot is doing.

Did you guess? OK, I'll tell you. It is NOT keeping a constant pressure on the accelerator pedal, so your speed is going up and down like your knees!

I won't even begin to talk about how these people miss turns, run red lights, and are a threat to themselves and to people like me who are paying attention to traffic. But I WILL tell you my advice for these people.

I saw a bumper sticker once that said in large letters, "HANG UP AND DRIVE!". I'd love to get one. But besides that I have two pieces of advice.

First, if you're out in the open Texas countryside and just HAVE to yammer away on that stupid cell phone, please set your cruise control so your speed will stay constant.

Second, go to WalMart and spend the $10 or so it costs to buy a HEADSET for your phone. Ever hear of a "hands free" device? That's what I'm talking about. It looks cool, you can gesture all you want and still keep one hand on the wheel, and it MIGHT save your life.

I'm sure I'll hear about the people who eat while they drive, or put on their makeup, or read a book or even watch a tiny portable TV while behind the wheel. And yes, I've seen ALL of those things. But the cell phone antics I see darn near every day.

And I'm out driving through open countryside. I can't imagine what it must be like on the city freeways.


VikiBabbles said...

Oh, my dear, I just arrived home from driving to Chicago from Florida.

I saw several cars that had ginormous video screens popped down from the ceiling of their cars, and two that, in addition to this, had screens in each of the backs of the front seats. What are these people watching?

I have a problem, and that is that I am frequently witnessed to roll down my window and scream, "Hang up your fucking phone and drive you stupid asshole!" Usually my kids say "Mom! Language!"

Really, though. I hate to sound like some old fuddy-duddy (I hate to even use the phrase fuddy-duddy), but there should be laws!

I'm glad to be back. Good rant about a common peeve. I have a theory that there are no new stories. There are just new ways of telling them.

Candace said...

Why is it okay to talk to your passengers, but not on the phone? I'm just sayin...

Duke_of_Earle said...


As to your theory, "there are no new stories. There are just new ways of telling them."
Solomon was supposed to be the wisest man that ever lived. Late in his lfe he moaned, "There is no new thing under the sun."

Well, OK, I don't know if he moaned it or shouted it. Sounded similar, though.

Chenoah: Good question. That's what I always thought too. In fact, that was MY justification for talking on MY cell phone when I drove.

For some reason it seems to be different talking to passengers vs. on the phone. For one thing, the passenger can see you and the driving conditions. Long pauses in conversation are understood when he/she can see you watching traffic, whereas the person on the telephone doesn't get that visual input.

For me, wearing a headset (hands free) helps a lot. I don't know. I just wanted to vent again.