Ditzy is the new cool?

headlamp“I’ve tried and tried and tried to stop texting while I’m driving and I just can’t do it!” I was heading home in stop-and-go traffic on State St. today, warily watching the fancy-looking cell-phone yapping gal in the Escalade behind me through my rear-view mirror, when I heard a ditzy-sounding teenage girl say that (or something like that) on NPR. The scariest part of this story was that the person in question (was her name really “Brandi”? Or “Brandy?”) had been in no less than two serious vee-hickular accidents by the age of 19. BECAUSE she was TEXTING WHILE DRIVING. BOTH TIMES!!! The first time, she was knocked unconscious with very serious injuries that took her quite a few months to recover from. Now, wouldn’t you think that would be enough to make a person decide to not drive while texting (or whatever distracting behavior)? Not. The next time, she rear-ended a semi-truck. That time, she was okay. I don’t think her vee-hickle was. I wonder who was stoopid enough to buy (or loan) her a second vee-hickle after she crashed the first one.

What scared me the most about this was not necessarily that Brandi/Brandy crashed her vee-hickle while text messaging. It was that the reporter interviewed a number of teenage children and all of them were very cavalier about how they used their phones to text while driving. I can’t find the article on-line at the moment but these kids were all saying how cool it was to text while driving and “everybody does it” and their parents were all stooopid and all the usual stuff. Sorry, but all of these kids that were interviewed sounded ditzy to me. I was ready to strangle each and every one of them. But I wonder. My own once-teenagers and their friends were, for the most part, not very ditzy. They were young people who were learning, and sometimes struggling, to make their own way in the world. Figure out their own identity. They loved to have fun, party with their friends, everything that makes life worth living. But ditzy? Not. Most of these kids were pretty responsible and articulate when it came right down to it. Were the kids NPR interviewed just playing around with the reporters? Or is ditzy really the new cool? Or did my kids really and truly avoid the ditzy ones…

I dunno. I can’t say I haven’t *ever* texted on my phone in one of my vee-hickles. But it is a pretty rare occurrence. I learned how to drive when driving was still fun. My parents loved to drive and so did my brother and I. But driving was (and is) an activity in itself. It is an opportunity to get to your place of employment quickly (hopefully). It’s an opportunity to see the world, highways and byways and even two-tracks. But, with the opportunities, there’s also the HUGE responsibility of handling a fast-moving motorized vee-hickle on a road with other similar vee-hickles. To me, the acts of driving, accelerating and decelerating, turning and braking are actually fun. Add in a stick shift and going up and down through the gears is the ultimate in fun. Navigating the labyrinth of dealing with other vee-hickles just adds to the fun. On most days…

Texting isn’t the only driving distraction there ever was but, fer kee-reist, when I am in my vee-hickle, I find it to be a small quiet spot in the midst of whatever chaos is going on. I focus on whatever is happening on whatever road I’m on and I usually love driving (er, unless I’m on the southbound I75 SUV Speedway and the Zilwaukee Bridge is closed.) Why can’t we teach our children that driving requires extreme focus and that is one of the things that makes it fun? Why do we (or our children) need to have a distraction while driving? And where did NPR find these hopelessly clueless ditzy teenagers?

Am I nuts or what?

4 Responses to “Ditzy is the new cool?”

  1. Kathy Farnell Says:

    You are not nuts. I try not to talk on my phone when driving. Why? Because I have missed my own exit while talking on the phone. I have disconnected from a phone conversation and realized that I have gone 10 miles and not noticed where I was. I see other cars and slow down etc. but I am not as aware of where I am as I am when I am not on the phone. How do you text and drive because you have to take your eyes off the road? Cell phone conversations can be dangerous but texting while driving a moving vehicle could be disasterous.

  2. Margaret Says:

    I can’t even text when I’m NOT driving, so I would drive into the ditch if I tried. Our younger daughter is ditzy and we worry ourselves sick about her driving. We’ve told her in no uncertain terms that she CANNOT text or talk on the phone while driving–but when we’re not looking…who knows? It’s scary. I HATE CELL PHONES. (even my own)

  3. isa Says:

    remember that what you heard on the radio was probably edited – it makes a better, though not balanced story to only play the segments where teenagers sound reckless. also, were the kids interviewed in a group or individually? if one started out with “yeah i text all the time!” the others were likely to follow. see where i’m headed?

  4. John Hilton Says:

    Ann Arbor’s own Car and Driver actually did a semi-scientific test to see how texting affected drivers’ reaction times. The answer: a lot worse than when they were merely drunk!