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Burnett's Urban Etiquette

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Hi, I'm James. And I am a cell phone Hypocrite

I confess that I am a cell phone hypocrite. I don't think it's the smartest thing to be on a handset while driving. But, when I can't find my headset I do it sometimes. And so do a lot of you, but that's not the point.

There are some things we can do that aren't the best things for us, but if we do them with moderation and care, they can be controlled.

The problem is when people overdo things. And a la Nancy Reagan some of us need to learn how to just say no, or in the case of cell phones just hang up, or at least just put 'em on hold.

Don't feel me? Here are two examples: After taking my visiting parents on a quick tour of the Miami Herald building yesterday, we headed over to Bayside for a boat tour. I had to swerve though shortly after leaving the parking lot to keep from getting crushed by a bus on Biscayne Blvd. I'm thinking the driver is having a stroke or a heart attack, 'cause his ride is weaving slightly, and when we turned next to each other he drifted at least halfway into my lane. I swerved into an oncoming lane, the bus missed us, I straightened up and pulled parallel to the front of the bus. The driver was on a cell phone with one hand, and steering the bus with the other. That fool was driving a bus, turning sharp corners with ONE hand! If that wasn't bad enough, when we got on the tour boat a little while later our departure was a little rocky - rocky enough that the boat was swayin' like a swing set. I Couldn't figure out why since the water was calm. Then my wife and 'rents, who had just finished experiencing my "reaction" to the bus driver, started laughing. I asked at what, and they pointed to the boat's pilot house, where sure enough, the pilot had a cell phone pressed to one side of his head and, yep, was steering the boat with the other.

I admit I drive while on the phone sometimes. But if I have to do something that requires more than just staying in a straight line then I'm telling the person on the other end to wait a minute and I'm putting the phone down.

Activities that call for putting the phone down for a sec? Hmm, let's see. How about steering a BUS full of passengers around tight corners on narrow, construction-bombed city streets? And I think maybe driving a frickin' double-decker BOAT full of passengers - not just driving it, but backing it up calls for use of both hands. And don't think you're exempt if you're in a car. If you're doing anything but driving in a straight line - like sitting in a drivethru banking lane (thanks for the example Val, - get off of the phone for a minute! Parallel parking? Put it down for a minute! Turning in narrow lanes in heavy traffic? Call them back! Crossing or turning into two lanes of traffic without the benefit of a traffic light? Hang up!

Yes, I am a cell phone hypocrite. But I ain't stupid.


  • I'm totally with ya.

    I was on the phone yesterday with Mrs. LL Cool Babe and when I came to a 4 way stop, I said, hold on a second, can't talk, I'm at a Miami Four Way Stop, which means no one stops, and my friend, knowing how conservatively I drive, said "OMG, you'll be stuck forever!"

    By Blogger Manola Blablablanik, at 12:35 PM  

  • You think that's bad? You would have flipped when I traveled to Louisville, KY with my parents last weekend. We were on a 4 lane highway, and a guy is driving erratically, swerving into the right lane. Turns out, yes, he's on his cell phone. If that weren't bad enough, we watch in disbelief from behind him as he PUTS HIS FREE ARM ACROSS THE SEAT! Thus, NO HANDS! Scariest thing ever. After that, he was constantly doing other things rather than looking at the road. I kinda wonder if he even realized he was driving with all the other things he was doing.

    By Anonymous Adlib, at 12:44 PM  

  • if I had a dime for every time Ive screamed "HANG UP THE %$%^%^$#@ PHONE" while driving in this city, ManCamp would be all stainless steel.

    One thing I mentioned at Alesh's blog, is that driving while on the cell for us Cubans is especially dangerous. One hand to hold the phone and the other hand to talk leaves no hands to hold the wheel.

    By Blogger Val Prieto, at 10:19 AM  

  • Hi, Thanks for your interesting blog. Keep up the great work! I also have a site & blog about nokia cellular phone, please feel free to visit.

    By Blogger Cell Phone Center, at 1:51 PM  

  • Don't forget people driving in the HOV lane on 95 going 40 MPH because they can't talk and go the speed limit simultaneously-get off the road and stop blocking traffic!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:22 PM  

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