Disengage and Liberate Yourself

I was teaching class when Christina walked in, a little frazzled, and quite sorry for being late. She is rarely late. She quickly explained why she was tardy: There had been a car accident on Greenspring Valley Road, and the police had shut it down for a bit. No one could get by.

“It’s scary, and it shakes you up,” she said. The members in the class agreed. And then we began to speculate.

Could the accident have been a result of texting and driving?

Driving and texting don’t mix, just like cocktails and driving don’t mix either. No matter what, driving and not paying attention to the road due to some distraction, whether it’s texting, eating, applying mascara in the rear view mirror, wearing headphones or pods, or reaching for a CD that dropped between the seats, can all be dangerous and hazardous to the driver and to those on the road with him. Plus, people are driving faster and more recklessly on the roads these days. I know; I see it for myself. I’ve nearly been clipped several times by speeders who drive like they’re at a NASCAR race instead of on a highway with families and children in cars. I witness this every day, as I am on the road with them for roughly 40 minutes in the morning, and then again in the afternoon when I head home from work.

“I’ve been leaving my cell phone behind a lot lately,” I said. “I just don’t want to be too connected anymore.”

“It’s liberating sometimes,” Christina said. “When I go out to dinner with my friends, we have a rule that we put the cell phones in the middle of the table, and whoever grabs for it first pays a penalty.”

Our obsession with cell phones is quickly becoming an annoyance to me rather than an effective tool of communication. We are forgetting how to talk to each other, and if we have to respond to someone in more that 140 characters, we just don’t know what to say.

While there is a time and place for social media, texting, and responding to emails, that time and place should not be when you are a driver of the vehicle. Do yourself and those on the road with you a favor when you get into the car and disengage. Since when did we become uber confident that we can multi-task and drive a car? Ask yourself this question: Would you be comfortable knowing that the pilot of your airplane or the conductor of your train was texting while flying or conducting?

Um. I think not.

When I went to get my driver’s license oh-so-many years ago, my mother relayed to me what her father had said to her when she got her driver’s license. He told her this: Remember, this vehicle is a privilege and a weapon. Keep in mind that using it incorrectly can harm or even kill someone.

We take driving much too lightly these days. There are oodles of cars on the roads every day, every minute and at every hour. On occasion, when I have come home from an event at one or two o’clock in the morning, I am always amazed at the volume of traffic on the roads at that time. Then you ask the scary question: Do you think they are drinking and driving and texting?

Last weekend, my family and I went kayaking in the middle of the day. I did not bring my phone with me. My husband asked me where my phone was, and I told him I left it behind.

He asked me why.

Because I don’t want to be too connected, I replied. Disengaging.

That’s a new one, he said.

Yes. Yes, it is, I said.

One Comment

  • Mom

    APPLAUSE! APPLAUSE! Every senior friend I know has complained, at one time or another, about feeling irrelevant when their children/grandchildren stare at their phones instead of making eye contact and conversation during visits.

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