Mobile phones and driving.
It never ceases to amaze me how people are virtually paranoid about their mobile phones. At a dinner party last Saturday evening, two people had messages come in on their mobiles, and both these people stopped the conversation/eating/general conviviality in order to look at their messages. One of them did say something about it being rude and put it away in his pocket quickly, and the other culprit is so lovely that one forgives her anything and everything … and in many ways it is just a sign of the times.
I suppose quickly glancing at a message is bearable, but actually answering it is, in some situations, intolerable. It particularly struck me yesterday with a man talking in to his mobile phone in a restaurant at a nearby table. He kept it up for ages. Who the female was I have no idea, and perhaps she just worked in the office with him and he didn’t care what she thought … but I commented to my companion that in her boots I’d just get up and walk out.
We have all been in situations where somebody’s mobile rings and whoever we are with stops and deals with the mobile. There is a time and a place, and most thinking people can work it out. A quick “do excuse me one sec” is appropriate, followed by “I’ll call you back” to the caller. I have a French friend who will be talking to me on the land line and suddenly say “my mobile is ringing – hang on” – and I find that terribly rude. She was flabbergasted when, after a bit of a wait, I rang off. “Well,” I said to her later, “were you talking to me or to the other person?”
On a bus in Paris recently the young driver manoeuvred his bus in and out of crowds, around roundabouts and through the city, all the while chattering away on his phone. My husband filmed him. When we stopped we pointed out to him that what he was doing was not only illegal but very dangerous too. “But I was talking to my boss!” snapped the young man … as if killing somebody while talking to the boss is all right.
Talking in to the phone when driving is the worst. Why do people do it ? It is such an astoundingly stupid thing to do and goes to show how ignorant people are about their own limitations when driving and the danger that faces them and their families when they get behind the wheel.
The “best” one (and I use the word tongue-in-cheek) was in Belize where I saw a man manoeuvring around a roundabout, his mobile wedged between shoulder and ear as he chatted, one hand on the steering wheel … and in his other arm he held a baby and with that spare hand he held a bottle in the baby’s mouth !!!
Catherine Broughton is a novelist, a poet and an artist. She is widely travelled and writes regularly for magazines and blog sites. Her sketches are on her web site http://www.turquoisemoon.co.uk . Her books are available from Amazon and on Kindle, or can be ordered from several leading book stores.