We have come a long way in a short time with our technological advances. The capability of finding out who played bass for the Doobie Brothers, or where the closest taco truck is while on the west side of Turlock, is now readily available with the click of a cell phone. But some things have remained stuck on the ground – as in our cars. I think back to watching The Jetsons, and realize they dangled that flying car in front of a kid, like it was just a few years from becoming reality. But here I am in 2015, still pedaling along the ground like some kind of Flintstone. The Jetsons series did nail quite a few things however. Remember when Mr. Spacely would appear in the kitchen on a screen to yell at George? An early version of Facebook, or even FaceTime no doubt. The Jetsons car even had a device to talk with work and home – an early version of the cell phone.
But what we didn’t know then, was that two of these technologies wouldn’t be the bedfellows we had hoped for. In fact the cell phone and the inside of a car are in dire need of a divorce in many people’s opinion.
Some things are just meant to go together. When H.B. Reese put chocolate and peanut butter together in 1928, the world couldn’t deny how wonderful this coupling was but unlike a cell phone and a car, I can eat Reese’s cups all day, and not worry about rear ending the car in front of me. Imagine heading into surgery, and noticing the surgeon has a big screen TV next to you, so he can play video games or chat on Facebook in between incisions?! Have you seen what it looks like to drive these days for the Under 25 Club. Looking down at their lap every 3.5 seconds to take a peek. Who are you trying to fool? .Do you think the cop you are gonna pass thinks you have a puppy in your lap, or that you are OCD about making sure your shoes are tied. My roommate Anthony plays a game called “Let’s see if I can cause a wreck”. If he is at the front of the line at a red light, and notices the person next to him looking down at their cell phone, he takes his foot off the brake and acts as if the light is green. Most phone gazers use their peripheral vision to monitor the car next to them, and this maneuver works like a charm. Spilled coffee and a terrified look is worth 10 points, and should come with a trophy...cause you can be sure that person will stay off their phone the rest of the day – or at least until the next Bruce Jenner story pops up on their Facebook newsfeed.
STAY OFF YOUR CELL PHONE WHEN DRIVING.: We are caught in a sort of “technological limbo”. The little toy in our hands that gives us so much joy does not mix well with the two ton monster that Henry Ford used to manufacture but they are like peanut butter and chocolate for most of us. Occupying your time in a car is something that has spawned its very own specific set of distractions. We played games like “I spy” or “slug bug” — my arm is still sore from that one, thank you 1970s. We’ve popped CD after CD into the stereo, until the passenger seat was covered with them, because getting them back in the case when driving was near impossible. And now we have these wonderful little devices to occupy our drive, but are being told we can’t?!..Chicken or the egg: The need to get place to place and the desire to stimulate our brains have always been here. I don’t see any remedy for the current driving/cell phone dilemma we are in. The police issue tickets when they can, but we all know that isn’t going to stop it. We watch commercial after commercial, showing us the tragedies that happen daily because of it, but it doesn’t make a dent. I heard talk of a device that will make the cell phone deactivate while the car is running – what is this Russia?!
I was driving to work with Ed Machado recently and he started a conversation about self driving cars. Yes folks, that time is drawing near. Ed was interested in the time saving aspect in this technology. Traffic moving as one group, cars that sense one another, and therefore preventing wrecks. The benefits and effects from this technological jump are too numerous to wrap your head around. We laughed that we’d be able to play Liar’s Dice while the car drove us from ranch to ranch – which in a nutshell is every Portuguese Farmer’s dream but sadly all I could think was “I could be playing with my cell phone the whole time”!.The generation just above me for the most part use the cell phone in the strangest way. They use it as an actual phone. While my 11 year old nephew considers the phone aspect of the cell phone, to be about as important as the SAP option on a television (he doesn’t understand it – and could care less). My generation of fortysomethings are sort of technological “Inbetweeners”. We grew up in the 70s, and learned how to occupy our time with whatever was available – but we also were young enough to become attached to the advancements the 80s and 90s spawned. I’m perfectly fine with driving to LA, and having nothing but talk radio to listen to – but let’s be honest – I no longer have to because of that beautiful little cell phone.
It is hard to explain to someone young just how dangerous a game they are playing when “texting and driving”. The sense of invincibility being inside a car brings, is in actuality as fragile as an egg.
MICHELLE AND JASMINE: It was 20 years ago this week, that my group of friends was struck by tragedy. Our dear friends Michelle Bronson and Jasmine Mcguigan were killed in a car wreck. On that day texting and driving was not the culprit, instead it was drinking and driving that took their lives. Cell phones were just a burgeoning technology at the time. I’ve wondered if they had a cell phone, would they have used it to find a ride that day. The answer is more than likely no. They were both free spirits – and definitely did things on their own terms. It is that overwhelming sense of invincibility we have in our youth that galvanizes most poor decisions. The loss of their lives was a tidal wave that never goes away – and small ripples are still visible to this very day. When I see Michelle and Jasmine’s friends, who are now mothers and fathers, it is impossible not to wonder what their lives would have been like. To have the chance to talk to a little Michelle, and see if her daughter would have that same sharp and quick sense of humor or watch a son of Jasmine, and see if her superior athletic genes were passed to him...They were both extremely honest and amazing women, and are missed dearly. A lifetime of moments ended in the blink of an eye. There is nothing worse than losing loved ones to something as senseless as drinking and driving. And it is compounded when they are struck down in the prime of their lives and believe me, I am the last person that wants to sound preachy when it comes to this subject. I have made this same mistake in the past – and undoubtedly will in the future. It seems an easy fix these days, pick up that cell phone you love to use – and CALL FOR A RIDE! It is one time that nobody will complain that you are using it.
I don’t know if they have cell phones in Heaven, but if they do, check your text notifications Belle and Jas – because a whole lot of people miss and love you.
“It’s not Where ya do – It’s What ya do”