This column is brought to you by Sheila Buska at http://www.smile-breaks.com
Down at the car wash…
I was down at the car wash today, watching the driver who pulled in after me walk over to retrieve her keys, tip the car washer and hop in her car, which was finished. Mine wasn’t. I was thinking bad thoughts about why her car got washed before mine did when I noticed she wasn’t driving off.
Maybe she was adjusting her seat. You know how those car wash guys set the seat back a ways. But several minutes later, she was still sitting there. It doesn’t take that long to adjust a seat. Through the window I could see her fumbling around with a bag of some sort. Maybe she was looking for something in her purse?
A few feet behind her, cars were stacking up on the conveyor belt, waiting to be driven off to be dried and polished. After what seemed like at least five minutes more, one of the car wash guys beeped a horn, politely but plenty loud. Her car didn’t move. Curious, I looked through the window again. Ahhhh – so that’s why she wasn’t moving. She …
Texting. So convenient; so everywhere. You’ll be driving down the freeway in the left lane and suddenly traffic slows to fifty. Where’s the accident? No accident. Texting. The car’s holding steady at fifty miles an hour; the thumbs are going seventy miles an hour. One by one, cars and SUV’s and MiniCoopers pass the texter, using the middle lane to get around him.
Ha! Now it’s my turn. Dang! He’s speeding up. Must’ve finished texting, or else his car suddenly caught up with his thumbs. Can’t catch up with him now. But I’ve already crossed into the other lane and wouldn’t you know? There’s either another texter in front of me.
It isn’t only drivers. I work downtown where there are lots of people walking on sidewalks and crossing streets all the time. You’re walking down the sidewalk, balancing your latte and… Watch out! Texter approaching. Used to be the business people – both kinds – would talk really loud and gesture wildly as they strode down the avenue in their khakis or designer suits. I used to mistake them for the people who have no place to live and wander the streets, some of them off their medications, loudly telling everyone what’s wrong with the world and what needs to be done to fix it. They were just dressed a little better.
They don’t talk any more – the business people. Now they bury their heads in their chests, cling tightly to their BlackBerries and iPhones, their thumbs flying as they text away. You have to watch your step ’cause they’ll never see you coming.
Okay. I do it, too. It’s so convenient. But I don’t do it on the freeway and I don’t do it while I’m walking down the street. Well, I did once, but I didn’t keep walking. I stopped in the middle of the sidewalk. A few people went around me, I think. I couldn’t say for sure.
And like I said, I don’t text on the freeway. Okay, I did catch myself the other day texting at a stop light. Shouldn’t have, but you know, you pick up your phone – just to see if you have any new messages and oh, look – there’s one from Bryan. Wonder what he wants? Oh, he wants to know if we’ll be home this evening. I tap “reply” and start keying in, “Not ‘til after…” A car horn blasts from behind me. Darn. The light’s prob’ly been green forever and here I am texting. I was only looking to see if…
It’s only s’posed to be the teenagers. But then, we’re all teenagers – right?
Sheila Buska is a long-time resident of San Diego County whose columns and feature articles have appeared in numerous publications. Her book “Time Outs for Grown-ups: 5 Minute Smile-breaks” is available at www.smile-breaks.com. Send e-mail to Sheila at firstname.lastname@example.org.