It’s just not worth it

I have a bad and potentially very dangerous habit. I frequently reach for my phone while driving. I’m not sure if it’s poor impulse control or the misguided belief that something SUPER IMPORTANT could be happening RIGHT NOW but I have a hard time letting that thing just sit there while I’m on the road.

Maybe I’m just one of the many people whose sense of self-importance has shot up with easy access and non-stop connection, every new message a shot of adrenaline to the ego that says: “There you are! Thank you for validating my existence! It’s been 7 minutes since someone contacted me and I was beginning to doubt my relevance in the world!”

With that kind of build-up it’s pretty tough when the message turns out to be : “please stop for eggs and milk” or “someone you haven’t talked to in 20 years just updated their status to ‘in a relationship’.” The elation of being “important” collapsing under the weight of the banal and the shockingly unnecessary.

A companion challenge I have is the belief that I have both the driving skills and the dexterity to multitask and get away with it. Unfortunately, every time I do get away with it I am only reinforcing a faulty belief system; a specific form of arrogance that I am all too happy to relinquish and that is likely much easier said than done.

This is the motivating fear that led me to this disclosure: that I will injure (kill?) myself or my family, and God only knows who else, because I had to know the score of the game, read a shopping list or delete more spam. Talk about senseless loss and a shitty legacy.

A fitting tombstone: He was well-informed.

As I become increasingly aware of the realities of my son’s journey into his teenage years I am more mindful of what I am modeling for him on all fronts. And you know as well as I do that when we start having serious conversations about him getting his driver’s license I am going to be unrelenting in my demand that he never text and drive.

Thankfully, I’ve still got some time to put together a track record I can be proud of and that will rescue me from the dangers of hypocrisy. Not only am I pledging to keep my hands off the phone while driving (to be clear, I’m talking specifically about reading and responding to texts and emails [and please don’t get me started on Siri]), I am enrolling my family to hold me accountable for doing so. While I’m sure they’ll do a great job – too good, probably – I’m also going to need your help as I’m frequently in the car alone.

If I update my status to “in the car” will you call and tell me all about your new relationship?

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