Monday, July 30, 2007

Cell Phone Stupidity

Okay, I'll be the first to admit that I do use my cellphone when driving...but it's RARE. I have it with me in case of emergency, and if a call comes in and I can EASILY access it (and put it on speaker phone), then I will. But I will not pick it up and use it as soon as I get into my car. Because of regulations, we are not allowed to use handheld cellphones on post anyway, so I will either pull over, park, or just not bother with my cellphone.

So what's my beef?

Well, we went to do some school supply shopping today. I can't believe that I have to buy stuff from a list - things like: box of CRAYOLA markers, classic colors, 3 PLAIN (no pictures or graphics please) folder with ONE pocket inside, 3 boxes CRAYOLA crayons, 24 count (no Roseart or Raymond Geddes or other no-name brand, please), etc, etc. Since when can a school dictate the TYPE of stuff I need to buy? And the fact that it is mostly all "community property" (which explains the branding requests). I want to buy my daughter really cute school supplies - she loves Tinkerbell, and I want to get her Tink notebooks, pens, papers, crayons. I want to buy the BRIGHT markers, the pipsqueaks (which are soo cute!)....I want to get FUN stuff. I totally understand the reasoning behind this, because if you are "have not" and can't afford to get all the "branded" stuff, then you're an outcast. But by the same token, there are a bunch of "help a kid to school" programs that provide all this great stuff absolutely free - and boxes at the registers for donations of school supplies. So why must I follow this list? Oops...I digressed a my school supply soapbox.

Back to the CELLPHONE story. So the kids and I head for WalMart, because they are most definitely the cheapest on the branded stuff we are required to get. We are walking through the parking lot, with me holding Scotty's hand and Hannah holding his other hand; we are trying to avoid all the puddles due to the rain. We arrive at the crosswalk; look both ways and begin to cross, as there is nothing coming. Hannah starts swinging slightly ahead of the line, now making me the last person in the walkway. And all of a sudden, there it happens.

The idiot, stupid woman, looking down, WHILE TURNING A CORNER, RIGHT INTO THE CROSSWALK where my children are slightly ahead of me. Why is she looking down while driving AND turning a corner? Of COURSE. She is dialing her cell phone. I SCREAM, at the same time YANKING the arms of my son. Bless him for having a tight grip on his sister, because the chain reaction brings her back as well...2 inches from the car's bumper.

And does the woman stop her car, get out, see if we are okay? NO. She her STUPID cell phone. I see her say something. Then LOOK AT ME. and she gives me THAT know...the one that says - You are SO dumb lady...get out of my way. She gives me a little "signal", the "well, go ahead already" signal with her hands. And I stare at her, dumbfounded. Because she almost ran my daughter over...and my son...and me. And it's MY fault? Because *I* was in the crosswalk? And I had LOOKED both ways (because am I also supposed to look up the aisles too? OR is SHE supposed to STOP at the end? HUH?????). And then she mouths, "well, go on".

And I SCREAM at her (and everyone in the parking lot who had stopped when they heard my initial heart-rending scream before practically LAUGHS!), "WHY DON'T YOU JUST HANG UP THE DAMNED CELL PHONE AND DRIVE YOUR CAR INSTEAD OF TRYING TO KILL MY KIDS????" I was just SO mad...and SCARED. My heart beat way too fast. Did she bother to park and see if we were okay (I was in the beginnings of a panic attack)? Nope...just went on her merry way, probably kvetching about the "stupid woman who wasn't watching where she was going" to the person on the other end of the cell phone.

I am of a right mind to send a letter to the editor and rant about her. I can guarantee she would recognize herself in the letter. But the problem is that the local paper her requires a name AND address. While I don't ever go anonymous, I prefer not to have my address posted, because quite frankly, I am not fond of scraping eggs off my home, or having nasty-grams mailed to me. But I know that a lot of people would agree with me.

Cuz, c' JUST got in your car in a PARKING LOT at WALMART and are driving away (or you're looking for a parking space, but let's not get lost in minute details, 'k?). Is it of UTMOST EMERGENCY to make a phonecall RIGHT THAT MINUTE while you're leaving the parking space and have your head so far up your BUTT that you almost run over a 6, 3 and 29 year old (with 11 years' experience)? Really? IT IS that important? You must be the president of the world or something. NOTHING is so important that you must make a cellphone call immediately.

So - for those of you who are GUILT of doing this; please stop to think a minute. Can it wait till the car isn't moving (at a light, pulled over, etc)? Because it might be your wife, your sister, your sibling, your KIDS that pay the price for your self-importance.


rennratt said...

I'm right there with you!

I have a cell phone AND a nextel (work). Both lay in the passenger seat while I drive. If I am in a Danger Zone, etc, I don't even TOUCH them - even if I am "alerted" on the nextel.

We were nearly run off the road yesterday (in a 70 mph zone) by someone who found it wise to CHANGE LANES while 1) not checking mirrors 2)not looking out window 3)making a cell call!

Today, the car in front of me nearly caused a 3 car pile up (including me in the middle!) because she found it necessary to drive 70 mph in a bottle neck while WEAVING THROUGH TRAFFIC AND TEXTING!

What is wrong with people?!

Jennifer said...

That's awful!! I'm so sorry you had such a nasty scare!! I can't hear on the phone, so I'm not guilty of that one...but I see people do it all the time...driving while's a wonder more people aren't injured :(
Oh, and we have one of those brand-specific school lists too. Oy. Thankfully crayons are so cheap at Wally World this week that I just went ahead and bought my 4 year old some too...just for play :)

Sue said...

I absolutely agree with you. Lately nearly all of the close calls (hey that weren't MY fault LOL) were with people on cells. I am guilty as well but this post will make me check myself better :)

Christy said...

This is just one more reason I hate cell phones I rarely even remember to bring mine with me. The only times it's ever important enough to talk when in the car is when Chad's deployed and has called me, and then I just pull over to the side of the road, but that was even when we were in the states...I never had my cell phone with me while Chad was deployed this last time! He either caught me at home or I missed his call. People think they're so important at all times to be able to be available for any and everyone, when reality is it's a rare time when anything's important enough to call another on a cell phone when driving.

Did you happen to get her license no? I'm sure you were probably too shaken up, otherwise you could have called the cops and turned her butt in for reckless driving. I'm glad you and the kids are ok though. Well physically even if your heart is still in your throat.

Miz UV said...

Totally agree. It's not just cell phones, but they make the careless folks act even worse.

Thanks for your comment at my place!

Heather said...

I'm glad you and your kids are okay. I do have a cell phone but I also have a blue tooth wireless headset (I'm a bit of a geek) and it allows me to voice dial and talk without ever taking my eyes off the road. Quite frankly, even with the fun toy I don't use the phone in the car often.
Personally, I think people's driving ability dumbs down in parking lots to begin with. Adding a cell phone just makes it worse.
Thanks for visiting my blog btw!

Anne said...

I"m here via Michele.

I agree with your other commentors, people forget to pay attention. I put my phone on the dash board on speaker when I have to talk while I'm driving.

Shane said...

dang . . . i missed part of this post b/c I was text messaging. heh heh

more people are killed by cell phones than drunk drivers; however, I'm not quit sure how many cell phone users were drunk too.