SOME YEARS AGO, the manufacturers of and access-providers to cell phones (“mobiles” in the most of the rest of the world) conquered America. They somehow convinced everyone from our every elected official to the highest and lowest of professionals in every company major and minor down to the homeless on the streets of Seattle that they could not live their lives without a telephone in their pocket and a three-figure monthly phone bill.
You would think that some of these folk would cherish those moments out of the office or home and NOT having to hear a phone ringing for their attention. Such has not been the case.
Now, prior to cell phones, several companies had begun manufacturing mobiles phones for installation in private automobiles at an affordable cost. My brother Charles was one of the first ‘civilians’ to have a phone installed in his car. His reason? He owned a small business in Pennsylvania (Mia Bella Candles, manufacturers of the ‘world’s finest organic scented candles’) and when away from the proximity of a land-bound phone, his attention was nonetheless needed for important decisions.
So, a phone went into his car.
So, I was back east visiting and Charles (Charlie to everybody but Mom, Dad, and me) drove me over to see his manufacturing plant on George Street in Wilkes-Barre. On Pennsylvania Boulevard, not far from where we used to play on the railroad tracks as kids, his new-fangled mobile telephone rang. I was afraid that he would answer it while driving
As someone who believes that the driver should keep his eyes and attention on the road in front behind left right at all times I do not mind confessing that I don’t even like it when a driver turns his head to his right to engage me in conversation when I am in the passenger seat! Nothing should distract a driver’s full attention from the ALWAYS potentially dangerous business of driving several thousands of pounds of metal at 30-60 mph.
Fortunately, my brother pulled to the side of the road to take the call—after which he explained that he NEVER drove and spoke on the phone at the same time. He has applied the same practice to his cell phone.
Of course, this common sense attitude is so rare it is worth remarking upon.
Which I am—here and now in this post.
So, the next time your mobile cell phone rings, vibrates, buzzes, or shakes rattles and rolls, just ask yourself, “What would Charlie Umphred do?”
And now you know the answer to the questions, “What would Charlie Umphred do?”: pull the f*ck off the road and take the call where you can’t hurt anyone!