with Lynne and Leslie
Tag Archives: driving

Why I Won’t Be Calling You From the Car

by SweetMidlife

HI! It’s Lynne.

A few years ago, the state of Maryland, where I live, made it illegal to drive while holding your mobile phone. This made a big impression on some, while on any given day, you can look at the car next to you and see people happily gabbing away with their phones up to their ears.

I have been one of those people at times.

I started off with such conviction. I powered up my Bluetooth speaker, and I put my phone where I couldn’t reach it. I promised my husband that I would obey the law, because safety and tickets and really the threat of death. It started so well.


Someone would ring me right when I was on the way out of the door, and I would say, “I’ll call you in the car.” Then I would realize that my Bluetooth wasn’t charged up. So I would have the phone on speaker mode, and put it on the passenger seat, or in my lap, or in my shirt (one of the plusses of having ample cleavage is that you can hold things in there. Yes I said it). So I would have my phone sliding down my boobage, and no one could hear me, and sometimes both the person I was speaking to AND me were on speaker, which means that it’s extra hard to hear, and your focusing on the conversation and straining and you are getting frustrated and then WAIT I missed my turn and yes.

I messed up the driving. Which should be the point.

I know that cup holders and drive-through restaurants and speakers and DVD players and in-car Wifi have made it so convenient to do work and catch-up with people and entertain yourself while you are on the road., which usually makes you a well-fed, conversational, comfortable bad driver. Because you are often distracted.

From driving.

On the show “Mythbusters”, they did a thing where the one guy was on a closed course simulating driving while he talked on the phone, first with a handheld phone, and then with speaker capabilities. And on both, he failed the test because his focus was split. This was really convicting, and my husband and I promised each other right then that we would not talk on the phone in the car, and if it was an emergency, we would pull over and take the call then.

And I have broken that promise, because I really needed to finish a conversation, or because I had to ask someone a question on the way to where I was going. It doesn’t matter why. I broke a promise that I agree with. Distraction is distraction.

And since I will be putting away my phone when I get int the car, I will also not be checking Facebook at lights, or looking down to see who just texted me. Not only is it dangerous, it is also illegal: they had undercover officers in MD last week posing as homeless people at stoplights, busting people for texting, even when they were at a light, because they were still in a travel lane.

This stuff is serious. And not easy. I am so used to checking my phone at lights that every time I stop now, I still make the motion of looking towards my phone as if I am about to check it. I feel like I NEED to know who liked the hilarious thing I posted before I got in the car. But unless people “unlike” it before I get to where I am going, I can bask in the public acknowledgement of my posting brilliance later. Because at the end of the day, the safety of me and those in and around my car is more important than my amusement, my ego, my need for immediate connection, and my entertainment.

So, I am pledging, again, to either have my phone in my purse when I drive, or if I am charging it up, to keep it as far away from me as possible. And I also promise to pull over if I need to call someone on the way or to visually check something on my phone. And I am not being haughty or smug about this. I am not. I have gotten physically anxious when someone calls and I am driving and I can’t reach my phone, since I am so used to doing that. But if I wait, I can focus on the road now,and on the call when I am actually somewhere that I can talk. And people like when you actually focus on what they are saying

So, if you call me and I am on the way out of the door, I hope you understand if I need to talk to you when I come home. And if you text me or message me on Facebook, you understand if I don’t get right back to you, even though that green light on Messenger tells you that I am on. I am not ignoring you. I’m probably just driving. I look forward to giving you my whole, full Lynne-ness when I get to where I am going.


Where my phone will be when I am finished taking this picture.

Where my phone will be when I am finished taking this picture.

My hat goes off to: The nice lady who almost sideswiped me today

by SweetMidlife

Leslie here!

I do my share of griping about human frailties and failings in this blog (and in my job as a newspaper columnist), so I admit to mentally writing a headline the first five seconds after I steadied my car after a black minivan swerved into my lane on my way home from the gym this morning.

I am not the world’s best driver – ask my bridesmaids, who included that detail at my bridal shower/bachelorette/Dean Martin Roast – so when the vehicle suddenly jerked toward me, I immediately thought “Did I do something wrong?” But even a driver of suspect skills like myself can tell if I’m the only car in my lane, and I was. So as I took a deep breath and kept driving, I noticed that the minivan had slowed down and then switched into my lane.

Now, I don’t know where you are from, but I am from Baltimore. I learned to drive mostly in Miami, and honed this skills for more than another decade elsewhere in South Florida. None of these places are known for the courtesy and proficiency of their drivers, or for their…ummm….picket fence innocence and safety. Most of the time, even drivers who are in the absolute wrong still seemed justified to curse out the people they almost hit, because who asked your car to be in that lane? Jerk!

So when I saw the minivan not only suddenly next to me, but slowing down with the window down, my first reaction was to duck. Again, Baltimore Miami. But a half-a-second later, I saw the driver lean over to the window….

….and make a genuine-looking “I’m so sorry” face with her hand on her heart in contrition. I was stunned. She was wrong. And she admitted it. And made a point to tell me.

“She must not be from here,” a friend said, later, and while that might be true, I’d like to think that there live among us nice people who make mistakes but also admit to them. She drove away, and as I passed her once more I waved.

This will not be the last time I get almost-sideswiped. But I hope it’s not the last someone apologizes.


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