How Come Everyone But You and Me Is An Idiot?

by DavalosMcCormack on March 9, 2009

It’s amazing how the stupidity of others can bring together complete strangers and make them feel that even though they have just met they have one thing in common, they are not “that” person.

I was sitting in a coffee shop the other day – no, it wasn’t Starbucks or any other big chain, it was  a small, independent coffee shop if you must know – enjoying being out of the rain and wind. There were three other fellas there, none of whom I knew and none of whom seemed to know each other.

One man was reading from a local newspaper and started laughing. He looked up to see that the rest of us were looking at him, wondering what was so funny, so he read out what he’d just come across.

It was the story of a woman stopped by the police while driving an SUV, talking on a hand held phone (illegal now, in California) but that wasn’t the reason the man was laughing. The report went on to say that the woman had a baby in her lap, and was breastfeeding. That’s right, she was breastfeeding the child while driving and talking on a hand held cell phone.

So, here we have a woman who presumably wanted a big old tank of an SUV because it was safer for her child, only to then put that child’s life in danger (and everyone else on the road too for that matter) because she was suckling while driving. Is there one or two “r”s in moron!!

Anyway, that got us talking about all the stupid things we’d seen people do while driving – from talking on the phone and looking at a map to drinking coffee and putting on makeup. It’s a wonderfully bonding experience to realize that the only safe and sane drivers around are all sitting next to you.

It’s also a reminder that whenever you are on the road you have to assume that half the drivers around you don’t have a clue what they are doing or are so busy thinking about what they just did or where they need to be that they are not thinking about where they are.

When I was learning to drive my instructor Howard began every lesson by saying “OK, it’s 9am, assume most of the other drivers out here with you are either drunk, hung over or just plain crazy.”

It’s good advice. It makes you aware that you can’t assume anyone is going to do what they should, not even that they are going to do what they seem to indicate they are going to do.

Just because someone is indicating they’re going to turn doesn’t mean they will. And just because they are not indicating they are going to turn doesn’t mean they won’t try to. You have to be ready for anything.

To survive you pretty much have to have a zen state of mind, always in the present, aware of where you are and what you and everyone around you is doing. If you drift away to wondering what you are going to do Saturday night or are thinking about a movie you just saw you might easily miss the fact that the car in front of you just hit their brakes, and before you know it you are about to hit that car with yours!

Health comes in many forms. It is connected to how you eat, whether you exercise and how you live your life. But it is also connected to basic issues of safety, such as how well or badly you drive.

Breastfeeding while driving is an extreme example of doing a bonehead activity behind the wheel, but sometimes we all do silly things that distract us and take our attention away from what we are doing. So next time you are spending more time trying to tune your radio or change CDs, or staring at some cute girl or guy in the car alongside you, remember the breastfeeding woman, and get your mind back on the road.

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