Hey, Asshole, Endanger Lives On Your Own Time.
I’m not gonna get into why it’s a bad idea to drive while talking on your cell phone. It just is. You either get that or you don’t. And if you don’t, you should. (And you would if you weren’t such a complete asshole.) Neither am I gonna get into why the practice ought to be illegal. It should be. And that’s all that needs to be said. But right now, in Massachusetts, it remains legal to drive while looking up your Uncle Ted’s beach house number on your personal organizer with one hand and one eye, talking to your Aunt Millie with a phone you’re holding in your other hand, and scanning a crudely-drawn road map with your other eye. And the fact of the matter is that the Mass. Legislature, while it can ram through an amendment that would write fucking bigotry into the state Constitution over the course of a few weeks, hasn’t the ability to pass something as simple as a driving-while-phoning prohibition (’cause, you know, that might actually prevent some accidents, maybe even save some lives, while banning gay marriage will … will … will … what will banning gay marriage do that’s in any way positive? I forget). So my guess is that you’ll be able to keep on driving and talking in the Bay State until the folks in Washington pass their proposed legislation, which would withhold federal highway money from states that allow cell phone use while driving, at which point the potential loss of a significant source of pork and patronage will spur the boys on Beacon Hill into swift action, and after which point said boys will make big statements about how important it was to them to make the commonwealth’s highways safer. And the beat goes on.
Back to my point. OK, so it’s legal; you can do it all you want and never have to worry about getting a ticket. And even if they make it illegal, you’ll probably do it anyhow, because what’s the risk to you? I mean, let’s be realistic, 999 times out of a thousand you’re gonna see the cop long before he sees you and you’re gonna put the damned phone down for the three seconds it takes to get by him and out of sight. It’s not like the guy behind you in traffic is gonna call the cops on his cell phone to report you for using your cell phone, is it? Yeah, you might kill yourself or someone else because you’re not paying attention to what you’re doing, but that doesn’t matter to you now, so why would it matter to you then?
So, as I said, what-fucking-ever. You’re gonna do what you’re gonna do and there’s nothing I can do to stop you. If there were, I’d be doing it instead of scribbling on my stinking blog. But there are a couple of things you really, really ought to know about yourself, so I’ll content myself with spelling those out for you.
First and foremost, you’re a boob. A jackass. I don’t know who it is you feel like you’ve got to talk to all the way from home to work (or wherever the fuck you go) and back again, but, trust me on this, you don’t really need to be talking to them. You’re not that damned important. How do I know? Simple. No one’s that important. Or if they are, they have this thing called a driver. That’s a guy who drives them around, paying attention to things like whether the car is still on the road, what color the light up ahead is, whether there are pedestrians in the crosswalk, “do not enter” signs and so forth, so the important person can sit in the back seat and review whatever those papers are and make his little calls on his little cell phone. And, you know what? Even those people who have drivers — the vast majority of them — aren’t important. They have money, which they think makes them important, but they’re not actually important. Not to anyone but themselves. But they at least have the decency to think they’re important in the back seat, which means they’re a step or two ahead of you.
Next, and this is really big, you can’t pull it off. There may be some people out there who can actually drive and talk successfully without becoming a nuisance or a danger to everyone else on the road (I wouldn’t know, because I’m too busy avoiding the rest of you amateurs to notice the pros), but you’re not one of them. Nope. Nope. Save your protests. I know you think you’re one of them, but you’re not. You never were and you never will be. How do I know? Because I’ve encountered you in traffic three times in the last few days (in the space of just a few miles) and, believe me, you were fucking up left and right. Remember?
First you were the guy in the black Saturn.(Fucking Saturn, OK? How important do you think you are when you’re driving a Saturn? I mean, it’s a fine car for getting around and all, but it ain’t a luxury sedan.) I was one of the drivers who had to find our way around you while you were parked in the middle of the intersection of Main, King and Pleasant streets in Northampton. You were eastbound on Main Street and you’d got all the way to the light before you realized you needed to turn left. Only you were in the middle lane (the straight lane) and there were already cars in the left lane waiting to make a turn. So what did you do, you jackass? You stopped. Just put on your turn signal and stopped. And waited. And fucked everyone behind you. Because you don’t have to pay for your mistakes (by, you know, going down a block and turning around, or continuing on and making the left onto Market and then coming back out to King — you maybe didn’t know you could do that, but I bet you’re familiar with the technique of going down a block and turning around), we do. Me. And all the other drivers who a) know what we’re doing, and b) are paying the fuck attention to where we’re going rather than jawing on the goddamned phone. Because you’re so important. So, so important.
Next, you were the woman in the blue Chrysler minivan who just pulled off the curb in front of the Vermont Country Deli. Just pulled out of your parking spot and onto the road. And if I hadn’t just slowed down to go through the damned intersection (which you weren’t blocking in your Saturn that day, because you were busy being somebody else), I probably wouldn’t have been able to avoid hitting you. As it was, I just managed to swerve out around you as I hit the brakes. And when I went to give you a dirty look and flip you off, what were you doing? What? Remember? You had a phone in one hand and a coffee in the other and all of maybe two fingers on the wheel. This as you pulled out into traffic on a busy street, you fucking stupid piece of shit. You looked over, probably because my beeping interrupted your phone conversation, and your face told me you were annoyed at me. For beeping? For being on your street? For not just stopping to let you and your important self go ahead? I don’t know. I do know that what I should have done is stop in front of you, get out of my car, walk over, grab your cell phone and your coffee, drop the one into the other, spit in the cup, hand it back to you and leave. I’d have been doing the world a favor. But you know what? I don’t need to be going to court on road rage charges. I really don’t. I just need you to look where the fuck you’re going before you kill someone (maybe me). Which is to say, I need you to stop being such a self-involved fuck. But I’m guessing that’s not gonna happen. Is it?
Then you were the woman in the tan (or whatever the hell color that is) Toyota Camry who was headed for the I-91 southbound on-ramp just before the Coolidge Bridge, then, I don’t know, realized she didn’t want to be on the highway and swerved back out into traffic without looking, forcing me into the left lane (where, fortunately, some other car wasn’t), then started to drift into my lane in the middle of the bridge. Then I watched you in my rearview mirror as we headed down Route 47 into Hadley and I saw you looking at your passenger seat (an address book, I’m guessing) as you made another call. You were most of the way onto the shoulder before you looked up and swerved back onto the road. You never hit anyon
e, but, Christ, lady, what if someone had been riding a bicycle there? What if someone were broken down and pulled off to the side of the road? Does that stuff occur to you? Does it matter to you? Or is it just too important for you to talk to your staff or whomever for you to give a shit about how poorly you’re operating a deadly piece of machinery. I mean, I wouldn’t want you to miss the chance to confirm your 10:15 sales meeting just because some asshole paperboy’s life might be at stake, you know?
So what’s my point? I don’t know. I can’t prevent you people from acting like shitheads. God knows I’d like nothing better. But it’s simply beyond me. Just try not to act like shitheads when you’re around me or the people I care about and we’ll call it even. Just don’t fuck up my life, or my day for that matter, and I’ll shut up about it. You think you can manage that? (I’ve gotta tell you, I don’t have high hopes.)