2010-03-11

That cell phone law

I held out some hope last fall when Ontario enacted a law banning drivers from using handheld cell phones.

Huh. Didn't make a damn bit of difference. Drivers still yak - and endanger lives - openly.

The observant among you may note the statute exempts police. I'm left to ponder why, since the law came in, every cop who drives past suddenly has a handset glued to their ear. How much back-channel chatter do they need? And why? I digress.

I've filed tonsa anecdotal evidence in my doggy rounds through Ottawa's mean streets. I hafta say, it proves to me that cell phone addicts make the streets meaner. Drivers, walkers, it doesn't matter - I've been mowed down by both, and my once-fine bushy tail is a stomped shadow of its former self.

People on phones do not see their surroundings when they look inward to channel the other end of the line. I have not figured out the mechanism by which drivers think they should continue to (ab)use phones when research suggests strongly that they're so gosh darn bad at it, but the conviction seems universal. Salient signs are a thousand-yard stare and a deep obliviosity to surroundings. So much obliviosity that pedestrian offenders' glazed eyes do not even flicker as they lurch against other sidewalk citizens.

I suspect the only reason everybody thinks they can drive and talk on a cell at the same time is because the very act makes them so heedless that they never register the carnage in their wakes. Recently, f'rinstance, some nit in a high-buck Teutonic conveyance was so other-focussed that he nearly splattered me across a red-lit crosswalk. The shock on his face after he screeched to a hasty halt was compounded when I planted my muddy paws on his window sill, stuck my pointy snout in, and conversationally suggested he turn off his fucking phone so as to forestall another near-murder at the next traffic signal.

Sadly, he was not so shocked that he couldn't whine back a shaky riposte. Along the lines of, "Oh yeah? Fuck you, too!" But we both knew it was the lamest of bids to save his red-lit face...

7 comments:

XUP said...

It actually sort of fills me with despair to think that people need laws to tell them not to drink and drive or not to watch videos while driving or not to text their friends about how fast the traffic is moving on the highway today. We complain about "nannyism", but by golly we just seem to be too durned feckless to look after ourselfs proper.

Woodsy said...

Remember this story of mine, Coyote? I wish I had a pointy nose and great big teeth, I would have snarled at him too. Well done!

coyote said...

XUP: Few politicians seem to overestimate the nitwittery of the general public, lately - during elections or between 'em...

Woodsy: I have a set of slightly-used dentures that Grampa Coyote bequeathed to me in his will, ma'am. Yours, if ya want 'em...

Jessica Hallam said...

I wish I could conjure the right words whenever these cellular-lovin' drivers nearly plow into me. Usually, the best I can muster is mouthing the words, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?" with disbelief. Every. Single. Time.

Milan said...

This April 2nd talk - at 6:30pm at the Wild Oat - may be of interest to one or more ESIs:

The trouble with wolves
Michael Runtz, Department of Biology

Wolves and coyotes are enigmatic animals that promote strong reactions on both ends of the human emotion spectrum. In the Ottawa area both are animals present but occupy different habitats and niches. The similarities between their two offer not only identification but also conservation challenges. The history and origin of these two closely related animals is a fascinating story, as is their ecological role.

Milan said...

Unfortunately, I am more likely to go to the arts pub night happening at the same time.

coyote said...

Oh, I'm an indubitable conservation challenge, ... but enigmatic? Moi????