It's a technology-driven world

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Remember those days when cell phones were thought to be owned only by the rich and famous? Well, unfortunately the day has come when they're available to everyone -- and I mean everyone. If I saw a beggar on the street holding a sign that said "Will work for food," I could probably dig through his pockets and find a Nokia.

I've come to the conclusion that talking on a phone while driving has become as ordinary as changing the radio station or nearly being run over by an RV. This is especially true for all those teenage girls out there, some of whom would go into a murderous rage if their phone were not in sight.

Teen girl: "Stacey! Where are you?! You're right in front of us, you say?! Oh my gosh! Anyway, did you see what Lisa did today? You'll never guess! She ate peanut butter! Yeah, I know!"

A lot of moms out there (usually driving an SUV or minivan) are known to be quite talkative behind the wheel, also.

Mom in Dodge Durango: "Fred, dear, what should I pick up at the grocery store? Bread? Orange juice? Jesus, Fred, get up and look!"

As for myself, I nearly swerve off the road just hearing the phone ring.

That's why it doesn't surprise me that there were over 2,600 deaths last year involving vehicle drivers and cell phones. So the next time you want to tell a useless fact or explain to your husband that you need juice, buckle up. Or even better: Throw your phone out the window.

The only time I would honestly ever need a phone is to call someone if my car had exploded. I mean, if I'm stupid enough to run out of gas, I should be forced to walk to the gas station anyway. Why does my generation have to be so spoiled these days, God? Darn you modern conveniences!

"I remember my dad's 1957 Buick I would drive on special occasions," my mom would explain to me. "Sure, it didn't have air conditioning or a radio, but I thought it was so cool at the time."

That's about the time I'd look outside and see my graduation present sitting in the driveway: a 2003 Civic with a sunroof and spoiler. And if it does happen to explode one of these days, I'll just pull out the cell and call AAA to sweep me off my feet to a nice air-conditioned building while I sip on a cool refreshment.

"Great," I think, "I'm already living a life my parents could only dream of at the age of 35. Stupid, spoiled me!"

And the older generation wonders why teenagers are the overweight and self-absorbed people that we are. Stop pampering us, technology! Or at least stop making cell phones so that people don't have to share the fact that they found a hair in their nachos while traveling at speeds of 80 mph.

You could have an accident with that lady in the Durango right in front of you. But I'm sure she's paying attention, so don't worry.

Sam DeReign is a graduate of Oran High School. Contact him at sdereign@semissourian.com.

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