Get off that phone silly person

By Steve Estes

Strictly Drivel by Steve Estes

Just hang up and drive

It seems as though every day I find another reason why cell phones in (or on) vehicles should be banned.

Just tonight, as I was working late again, I see this guy on a bicycle riding past the front door. He has no lights on the bike, it’s dark, he’s wearing dark-colored clothing, it’s dark, and I’m not sure his mental faculties were completely intact. The bike did its fair share of weaving between the bike path and the roadway, but the thing that amazed me most was his one-handed style of riding. You see, the other hand was filled with a cell phone.

And of course he felt it necessary to scream into the receiver in case the person on the other end couldn’t hear through the phone they could get it from the wind.

No lights and dark clothing are bad enough when riding a bike at night, but adding the cell phone to the list seems a little bit like a  Charles-Bronson nemesis death wish.

And one night when we were down in Key West for that little party they throw down there every year, we were vehicularly (nope, not a real word) accosted by a couple of idiots on mopeds.

These two young guys were riding without helmets in the first place. A pretty safe way to crack a skull if you’re not careful. Secondly, they were riding without shirts. A sure fire case of road rash in a fall. They also had pants so baggy they threatened to get tangled in the wheels. Three strikes. But they weren’t content with three. They wanted five.

They weaved through traffic like madmen, and one was talking on a cell phone and driving with one hand. Not very well I might add.

Now I’m not one to complain if someone wants to be dumb enough to put their own skin on the line, but this was one of those times when I really wanted to yell out the window for the idiots to hang up and drive.

I didn’t though. The blank look, you know the one that reminds you of a brick wall at the height of conversational prowess, just isn’t very satisfying.

So I stepped on the gas and got as far past them as I could get.

The other day I actually pulled away from a gas station (with the tank nearly empty) because this crazy lady in a Beamer insisted on dialing her stupid phone while she was pumping gas. It probably wouldn’t have been so dumb maybe if she was actually getting all the gas in the tank But each time she turned her head to improve he cell phone reception she pulled the nozzle out of the feeder tube and spilled gas on the ground. I know I’m getting older, but I still have no wish to cut what’s left of my life that short.

And then there was the guy on the motorcycle texting while cruising across Summerland Key. Texting is an easy thing to spot.

First, the vehicle, two-wheeled or four, weaves in an insane pattern. Second, the driver usually has their head pointed at their chest, leaving the road ahead of them to be absorbed by osmosis, or some other method not yet discovered.

And third, they are usually driving well below the speed limit.

This clown was guilty on all three counts.

He had on a helmet, so he couldn’t hold the phone out in front of him, it had to be down near the gas tank so he could see. His head was jacked down, and with the helmet, he couldn’t possibly see the road in front of him. So his head periodically bobbed up and down trying to keep some semblance of attention on the road.

He wasn’t very successful. Four times across the island he crossed the yellow line into the oncoming lane, thankfully it wasn’t busy and only one vehicle almost smashed him into an early grave if there had been enough left to bury. And four times he crossed the white line on the other side. It wasn’t during the stretches where gravel adorns the side of the road or he would have been peeling road rash for the next six months.

And since I was behind him, I could tell that he was travelling very little over what a good bicyclist can do.

Then came the Niles Channel Bridge. In a cross wind.

With cars coming the other way. And a big delivery truck. Kicking up a tail behind it.

After the first car blew the horn long enough to have Gabriel join in, the rider got  the hint and put the cell phone in his pocket, just a the truck whisked by, with its attendant draft wind.

He should be very glad he had good reflexes or the resulting cross wind against cross wind would have pitched him right over the side of Niles Channel Bridge.

Death narrowly averted by the slimmest of stupidity margins.

What amazes me about all these folks, and the millions just like them, is that they have no idea they’re being dangerous.

Hang up and drive.

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