Cars vs. Phones

Published 2012-07-03

Serious question: if you were forced to give up either 1) driving a car or 2) using an iphone/android/smartphone/cel phone/whatever…which would you choose?

I ask because this morning I and two nice old ladies walking a poodle (the big kind, like in Travels with Charley) were nearly run into the ditch on Fairmount by someone who couldn’t make this decision on a really short timescale.

The driver (in a huge Escalade-ish SUV, natch), made an overly-wide right turn through a blind-ish corner without looking up from her lap. She turned across the width of the street, directly at a cyclist (me) and two pedestrians and a fluffy dog on the far side of the road. She swerved with a modicum of panic at the last minute (which is why we didn’t dive for the ditch) but crept pointlessly away. Not so much as a “sorry,” and the whole time glancing repeatedly at her lap.

Clearly whatever was happening on that screen was a big deal. It made me wonder: if a judge forced this woman to give up either her Escalade or her iPhone, which would she choose?

Because, I gotta tell ya, you postively absolutely cannot use both at the same time. Not ever. If the text/email/YouTube video/whatever is so important, take the bus.

I understand the conundrum. The phone-thing is becoming an integral part of business and social life in the twenty-teens, the car less so. Young people are choosing to drive much less than people my age or older. But so much of the world was built for cars that it’s tough to make this choice.

But, seriously: if you had to choose, what would you give up: car or phone?