Tag Archives: Traffic collision

To the Pretty Girl Texting in the Car Next to Me

photo from poka0059 via flickr.com

Dear Pretty Girl:

I saw you today as I sat idling at a red light. You were in the blue Prius, and your blonde hair was pulled back in a high ponytail. You had long, thin arms and high cheekbones. As we waited, I noticed your smile. You threw your head back in an open-mouthed laugh. Your teeth were straight and white. You didn’t see me, but I saw you. You picked up your phone to send someone a text.

I kind of freaked out a little. Because as much as I like to think of myself as a rule breaker, well… when it comes to breaking rules that could impact other people’s safety, I guess I’m not so cool with that.

I wanted to give you the benefit of the doubt. Maybe you didn’t about New York State’s “Distracted Driver Law” that says folks are not supposed to text while driving. In fact, if you are even caught holding a cell phone in your hand while driving, you are subject to a $150 fine and 2 points on your license. But it wasn’t the practical stuff that bugged me.

See, I imagined my 13-year-old son sharing the road with you in a few years.

I pictured him, seated right where you were — in the driver’s seat — sending texts. Watching you, I got scared.

Like most parents, I want to believe: My kid would never do that.

But they do.

I mean, you were.

And you are someone’s daughter, Pretty Girl.

As red changed to green, I hoped you’d toss your phone aside, but your hot pink cell phone was pressed against the steering wheel as you rolled forward into the world.

So now I watch for pretty girls in blue cars.

I remembered a Public Service Announcement commissioned by AT&T that I had seen a while back that highlighted the dangers of texting while driving. I thought I would share it.

Because the kids are back in school.

And many of them are new drivers.

And the short film makes a pretty big impact about the risks of texting while driving.

Please watch this video and talk about the behavior as a family. Because we all know, it isn’t just kids who text and drive.

Adults do it, too.

I know it’s hard to ignore the thing that bings and pings and buzzes, especially when it is on the seat right next to you.

But we all have to try a little harder.

Have you ever sent a text while driving? Why can’t some people resist the urge to respond to a text message? Do you think texting is an addiction?

Update: I just learned my friend Stacey at transplantednorth wrote on this same topic a few days ago! If you are so inclined, check it out HERE!

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An Unexpected Bang

Well hello, July. That was a fine ass-kicking you gave me.

No, I am not talking about fireworks. That would be cliché.

And I am not talking about that other kind of bang either, you pervs. Seriously, get your minds out of the gutters!

To start July right, I got into a car accident.

Awesome, right?

First, everyone remain calm. It was a minor fender bender.

I was at a stoplight. Yup. Not moving at all.

Red means stop and I had done stopped.

When the light changed, I slowly moved my foot towards the accelerator.

And that’s when the grey car in front of me came flying backwards and slammed into the front bumper of my car.



I shifted into park and jumped out of my car — as did the driver of the other vehicle.

ElderDude was about 128 years old and kind of hunched over.

“What happened?” I said, maybe a little too loudly, but I was competing with traffic.

“I think I accidentally shifted into reverse,” he said, shuffling his feet a little.


I didn’t understand how that could be possible.

To be honest — and completely ageist — I also couldn’t fathom why a man over the age of 100 would be driving a stick-shift. Was he out trolling to pick up the ladies?

So there we stood, like The North-Going Zax and the The South-Going Zax from Dr. Suess, those two furry creatures who bump into each other and refuse to budge from their tracks.

(Only we were much less angry and much less furry.)

Anyway, we just kind of stood there in the middle of the intersection.

Foot to foot. Face to face.

I asked ElderDude if he wanted to exchange information.

He inspected his rear bumper. It was a little scratched. His license plate was a little dented, but otherwise perfect.

I looked into his old man’s eyes. They were blue. Like ocean blue. Like really pretty ocean blue, like the kind of oceans you see in documentaries where the ocean is just gorgeous and you want to hop in and take a swim.

“I don’t think we need to exchange information,” ElderDude said. “As long as you’re okay with it.”

One day I will be 100 years old, I thought to myself. And I will do something stupid. And it would be nice — assuming no one is injured — if that person could just forgive me for it.

So like a fish dangling from a line, I let him go. It was catch and release, and I threw him back. I mean, he was just a little, kyphotic fish. Feeling good about my decision, I got into my own car and followed ElderDude down the road until I eventually turned left and he drove off in his sporty, little gray car.

When I picked up Monkey after a morning of swimming, he took one look at my Honda and asked, “What’s that thing hanging off the front?”

I went to inspect.

And dagnabit if my license plate wasn’t gone.

That old man in the gray car — the one with the blue eyes — the one I let go without taking his name or plate number or information about his insurance company had bashed the fancy, black plastic license plate holder that secured my plate to my car like… like… like it was a cheap, black plastic license plate holder.

What can I tell you? I can’t find a good metaphor.

It’s clear to me now what happened. ElderDude hypnotized me so I forgot basic accident protocol. Hubby says this is ridiculous, but I was definitely momentarily blinded by blue.

Monkey and I returned to the scene of the crime where a good Samaritan had stuck my license plate on the median next to some pink flowers that looked a little wilted.

I think they were pansies.

I also think it’s going to cost eleventy-bajillion dollars to get my license plate bolted back on my car.

Have you ever tried to do something nice but then have it come back to bite you? What’s the story behind the most expensive car repair you’ve ever had to make?

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