"Serenity now, insanity later." - Lloyd Braun, Seinfeld
Serenity Now: a feature post on this week's edition of Hermit Thursdays.
Yep, you heard me, Hermit Thursdays are back! That's right folks, we're keepin' tha tradition alive.
Now today was supposed to be a bit of a write off, as I had an extremely long day yesterday. It did however turn into just one of those days.
I started off this Hermit Thursday in much the same way that most of them start; I woke up at a surprisingly decent time, took care of some emails while I made a 3 or 4 course breakfast, and did some laundry.
I finally set out around noon to return Nathan's ski gear from our trip to Mont Tremblant. About half way through the 40 minute drive to get to the rental store, I stopped at a stop light in a fairly large bit of traffic. As I was stopped I decided to quickly check my phone to see a message, as I had heard a notification beep a few seconds earlier. I glanced at who sent the message, looked back up at the road, put my phone down, and looked right.
Yes! It is one of those days!
To the right of me was an unmarked police van, with an officer in the driver seat. No it wasn't your run of the mill soccer mom, or angry dad, it was the police!
Now I understand that distracted driving is wrong. I'll even be the first person to admit that cell phones can be a bit of a distraction at times, and that I can see how it can lead to problems. If anything, with the amount of used parts I buy and sell, and in general the number of different places I need to visit around the city, I tend to use my phone for Google Maps so I can figure out where I'm going. I also tend to glance at texts or messages.
But today?! Now, as I'm simply dropping off some skis? I didn't even need to look at a map.
The police officer rolled down his window casually, looked at me like I knew how much of an asshole I was, and motioned for me to pullover. It was almost as if I hadn't turned to look at him as I put my phone down, he wouldn't have cared. It was because I looked at him that he was pulling me over.
"What is this, a Nexus?" He asked as he tried to operate it.
"Yeah, it's a Nexus..." I replied, wondering what he was trying to accomplish by knowing what phone I had. Oh right, he was trying to make sure it was operational so he could write it down in his report, and make sure I didn't have a defense.
After waiting 5 minutes for him to file his report, I got hit with the ticket.
"I just glanced at it [my phone]," I quipped.
It didn't matter. As I found out, the law states that even holding a phone while driving is grounds for receiving a handheld device ticket.
Here's the kicker: I glanced at the ticket at the next stop light (completely legal because it's a piece of paper not a phone), and saw a total payable of $280. Cold sweat started to run down my forehead. But wait, the set fine was only $125. There's no way the victim fine surcharges and costs were $155; that's more than the cost of the ticket itself.
Aha! I think he made a mistake.
So maybe hermit Thursdays aren't so awful after all.
I've definitely learned my lesson. If anything I'll be making sure I know where I'm going before I set out, or I'm installing one of those handheld device holders for cars. But does it really make a difference whether I'm fiddling with a built in navigation system or with Google Maps? It seems to me as if technology is moving much faster than law and bureaucracy, and the only way to try to catch up is to start dishing out hefty fines to even the smallest of offences.
I know, there will be people out there who will be telling me to: "burn in hell! You distracted driving piece of shit!"
Am I Larry David on a new season of Curb Your Enthusiasm?
I read about a woman who had bent over to pick up her phone at a stop light, since it had dropped, and was hit with the same fine. Or another guy who was accused of using a phone, when all he was doing was scratching his ear. What about drinking coffee, changing the radio station, or fiddling with the volume?
It seems to me as if the real problem is distracted driving, not handheld devices. If we want to totally eliminate distracted driving, we should have robots drive cars, or Formula 1 style seat belt systems that lock us into our seat so tightly we can't do anything but focus on driving. I could simply be having a bad day, or talking to a friend in the passenger seat. I actually can attest to being more distracted while simply tired, or while driving angry.
But Nicolas Cage makes driving angry seem so badass! Mom, can I drive angry too?
The real problem is being human. Also being hungry is bad while driving. No more bagels at Timmies eh? But wherrr am I gonna get my Tims fix in the mornings, eh? Fuckin' right I'm havin' my bah-gul. You can take that Driving While Eating traffic ticket and shove it up your Bagel BELT!
(Tim Hortons reference for the non-Canadians)
So what have we learned this Hermit Thursday?
That I'm a distracted driving piece of excrement, and that we should focus on bikes more next time.
Now here's a picture of my new exhaust mufflers for Big Bertha, just got em in this week: