Driving without using a cell phone and other hang-ups

January 12, 2014 

I'm fine with the new state law banning motorists from holding their cell phones while driving.

For safety's sake, I wish they'd ban other driving distractions like tuning a radio or iPod, changing a CD, eating, drinking, grooming, smoking, applying makeup or holding pets on your lap.

Somehow, many of us managed to drive before there were cell phones. We had to stop at a pay phone at a gas station to use a phone. That was a natural way of weeding out only necessary phone calls.

I'm not a fan of hands-free devices. I find them to be every bit as distracting as holding a cell phone in my hand. Wearing a Bluetooth makes me feel like the weird guy at the park, talking out loud but to no one in particular.

I'm glad they're clamping down on cell phone usage while driving cars.

For me, it's a case of "save me from myself.''

I've been guilty of using my phone too often and too carelessly while driving.

I wish we'd clamp down on cell phones, period. We're too dependent on them. We freak out if we leave home without them. They allow us to take photos -- and be photographed -- at moments when we'd rather not be recorded. We can get on the Internet and read sports news when we should be listening. Phones give us directions, emails, and there's an "app" for everything, anything.

Remember the days when a guy could sneak away for a few hours and he really snuck away?

No phone calls.

No messages.

Me, too.

Vaguely, though.

I'm not a fan of more laws but we could use a little more self-control when it comes to cell phones.

Here are some other examples of where we may not need a law, but we sure could use some self-control and common sense:

(Note: It's January, the best month of the year to be cranky. It's cold. Holidays are over. I'm sore from shoveling. Hungry from dieting. There's little I like about January, really. Sorry.)

Walk in Single File. We learned it in grade school. Line up, children, and walk in single file to the cafeteria. So why do so many adults insist on walking side-by-side-by side down a store aisle or sidewalk? They block those of us who may not have the whole afternoon to walk 200 feet. It's also annoying on bike paths. A few walkers side-by-side-side, blocking the entire paved path. One lane, please. Then walk as peacefully as you please after we pass you.

Park in Only One Parking Spot. Few things are more aggravating than to drive around a crowded parking lot and find two spots occupied by one vehicle. Or the vehicle is parked right on the stripe so you have to be Manute Bol (remember the 7-foot-7 stringbean NBA player from Sudan?) to get out of your vehicle's door. Keep it between the lines, please.

Loose Shopping Carts. Sooner or later, cars will collect their share of dings and dents. None are more annoying that those caused by an errant shopping cart in a parking lot. Just walk a few yards and put the cart in a rack. Please.

This is the Major Leagues. I'm a sports traditionalist so I'm not big on being told by the scoreboard when to cheer loudly, nor do I need T-shirts being shot into the crowd by cute young girls dancing on the dugout. What do you do between innings? You go to the bathroom. Or read the scores of other games on the big scoreboard. I'll be fine if I never do that power-play dance with my arms at a Blues game, too. But I understand it's fun for others. But no peer pressure, please.

Three Strikes and You're Outta Here! While we're on sports, I'm a little tired of fans taunting one another. If you wear a Blackhawks jersey to a Blues game, or vice versa, you can expect a little good-natured razzing. You have brought it upon yourself. But there's a line. Let's keep it clean and civil. Or watch the game from the local bar. Please.

Too Much Cheap After Shave or Perfume. Under crowded, indoor conditions, it seems like I always run into one person who decided today was a good day to skip a shower and splash on that whole bottle of cheap perfume or after shave that has been in the bathroom closet since Christmas 2009. Whew! Makes my eyes and nose tingle.

There. I feel better now.

You can agree or disagree, but don't call my cell phone or text me because I'm turning a new leaf in 2014.

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