So here's something that happened on my way home from work tonight.
I was in the right lane on the Dallas North Tollway. Traffic was bad. You know how the tollway is around rush hour.
So we were all creeping along and I decided to call my Dad and chat about father's day plans this Sunday.
I don't like pressing a phone to the side of my head even when I'm not behind the wheel, so I pulled out my earbuds, plugged them into the phone, and popped them into my ears.
I'm holding the phone in my right hand and steering with my left, and I had to look down for maybe two full seconds to push the button to call my Dad.
Whole process took less than thirty seconds from start to finish.
Behind me somebody lays on their horn and doesn't let off. It was just HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONK for like ten full seconds.
So I check the rear view and saw this 40ish woman in a SUV right behind my car waving her hands around like she was trying to get my attention. She had huge sunglasses and huge hair.
I saw that she was talking in an exaggerated pantomime and though I couldn't hear what she was saying I could tell she was trying to say something to me.
I focused on her mouth and decoded what she was saying. And what she was saying was this:
As soon as I understood what she was saying my shoulders involuntarily shot up to my ears and I actually said out loud into the mirror "I'm not texting!"
But when she saw me respond she only took that as a positive sign that laying on her horn and shouting words to herself that I couldn't hear had successfully secured my attention. She began a very grotesquely exaggerated pantomime of someone texting on a mobile phone.
Her thumbs wildly flew in front of her face, presumably across the imaginary keys of an imaginary cell phone, as she opened her mouth in a slack-jawed expression of stupidity and lolled her head from side to side.
I was both fascinated and outraged. I turned around completely in my seat, pointed indignantly to my left earbud with my left index finger and shouted (out loud again) "I'm on the phone!"
And just then my Dad said "Hello?" I really was on the phone and had totally forgotten that the phone had been ringing in my earbuds the whole time and only now noticed that my Dad had answered the call.
I faced forward and grabbed the wheel with both hands and said, "Dad, hey."
Just then the lady angrily roared past me on my left but had to slam on her brakes almost immediately after passing me, since the traffic in front of her had stopped.
As I merged and exited to the right onto the George Bush Tollway and focused in on the phone conversation with my Dad, I couldn't help sneaking glances at the back of her SUV trying to memorize her license plate number until it finally passed out of sight.
And I realized: wouldn't it be so much better if we had electronic sign boards on our cars?
Doesn't a lot of the rage we feel on the road come from our complete inability to communicate with each other?
If I could have had a voice activated sign board on the back of my car at that moment I know what it would have said. Well, and so do you, because I said it out loud and I already told you. It would have said I'M ON THE PHONE!
But I might have said YOUR GLASSES MAKE YOUR FACE LOOK LIKE A BUG AND I THINK YOUR HAIR HAS CANCER BECAUSE IT IS WAY BIGGER THAN NORMAL HAIR AND WHILE YOUR SEIZURE OF MISINFORMED OUTRAGE IS NOTEWORTHY I AM IN THE MIDDLE OF MAKING A PHONE CALL USING MY HANDS FREE HEADSET AND THUS CAN'T CONTINUE TO SPECTATE AT YOUR GAME OF ANGRY CHARADES AND ALSO YOU ARE SCARING ME.
She wouldn't be likely to be sitting at her home right now wondering if she has become the subject of a blog. But I do hope that she sat at the dinner table tonight with her family and turned me into a 'texting while driving' cautionary tale for one of her teenagers who also hates her obnoxiously huge hair, her obnoxiously huge sunglasses and her obnoxiously huge car.
Or maybe she was so angry because she just lost a loved one. In which case, I'm a real insensitive jerk. If she would have had a voice activated electronic sign board on her car she could have at least explained herself.
But my guess is she was going home from a long day at the office in a car with a/c that couldn't keep up with the 5pm summer heat, faced with a line of suckers in front of her that wouldn't move fast enough, just like everybody else on the road. And she snapped a little bit.
If anything, I bet that she feels a little embarrassed tonight after she got home and put the kids to bed, and finally had a chance to reflect on her a day a little bit. I bet she hopes she never sees me at the mall or at her church for fear that I might recognize her and start madly pantomiming texting at her.
But probably, she has forgotten the whole thing and will never think of it again or even remember it for the rest of her life.
Until, of course, she sees someone who really is texting while driving.
That person has got it coming.