Psst… as long as my editor is not looking over my shoulder, I’d like to discuss a real pet peeve. He wants me to stick to topics that draw interest mostly from people who have angst about getting older. Heck, I think we all do. The guy who is twenty thinks about how mature he is going to have to act when he turns thirty-five. The gal who is forty with kids contemplates whether her future grandchildren should call her grandma, some other derivative or by her first name. She is also planning revenge on her own kids by spoiling the follow-up generation. Those in their late fifties and early sixties wonder if it makes sense to buy the burial plot now while it is cheaper or let the surviving relatives worry about it.
Back to my peeve. It’s about the jerks who drive their car while holding one hand on the steering wheel and the other on their cell phone attached to their ear. And they are doing this while going thirty miles an hour in a forty mile an hour zone- in the left lane. I want to yell at them, â€œstay the _____ home.â€ Or â€œhang up the _____ phone.â€ Or â€œpull over, _______.â€ You can fill in the missing blanks. My dander is up because these morons don’t give a ______ about being fair and decent to anyone else. It’s all about them. Their excuse, of course, is that it is not illegal in certain areas. But, that still doesn’t make it right.
In the City of Chicago, it is illegal to drive with the phone in your hand pushed against your ear. Trust me, it is probably the most ignored law by both the motorists and the cops. Fines range from $100 to $500. But, that does not seem to scare drivers from doing it. Some suburbs also do not permit driving and talking at the same time but unfortunately most have not enacted such a law. Even in the suburbs where distracted driving is not illegal, it is still a crime to do so while driving through a school or construction zone that has temporary speed reduction.
I’m not even bringing up a worse crime- texting while driving. The State Of Illinois issued over 7800 citations for distracted driving in 2010. From the number of violators I’ve observed this past year, this seems low- an average of a little more than 20 a day. Maybe some cops are too distracted themselves stopping off at doughnut shops.
It got me to thinking if there is a generation gap going on with this issue because I rarely see a senior citizen committing such a heinous crime. Some will say that’s because most of them cannot figure out how to even use the buttons on their cellphone to make a call. The seniors I know- ahem- mostly just take incoming calls. Less of a hassle. My mother accidentally discovers missed calls days after they were displayed on her cellphone desktop. Or she will call me and mention that she is returning a voice mail message I left. I tell her that I did not leave her a message. She then tells me that I indeed did. I then have to tell her in a nice way (yah, sure) that I left the message the previous week.
Forget about her creating or adding to the address book. She has me append any new entries for her. I still think she types the entire number in when she wants to make a call regardless.
This is the same lady who brags that she has an email address and once sent one out just for fun to prove it. What she forgets to mention is that:
a. she doesn’t have a clue as to what her email address is or where it is
stored or how to retrieve any possible waiting for her because-
b. she hasn’t checked her email account since the day she created it on her granddaughter’s computer.
Gotta go- my editor is coming around the corner.