Head-Free Calling


Okay… you’re on a busy highway.  Multiple lanes.  Middle of rush hour.  You’re currently in the fast lane.  You get a call.  You recognize the number as being that of the world’s most connected headhunter.  You hit the “answer” button (just because you’re a law-abiding citizen who happens to have Bluetooth – and you hate your job).   Well happy day!  This phenom has arranged for you to do a phone interview with a prospective employer.  It’s your dream job.  Huzzah!

Oh… one catch.  Your new potential employer is calling your cellphone in three minutes.

Panic.  No… don’t panic.  You can do this.  There’s an exit just ahead, and a gas station at the first set of lights.  You can make it there and still have 20 seconds to spare.  Or…  you can reschedule (are you an idiot?  This is your dream job!).  And there’s your answer.  You’ll pull into the gas station so you can concentrate on the call.  This is important.  You obviously don’t want your mind on something else while this critical conversation takes place.

And therein lies your admission.  And mine.  It’s about the level of concentration required to have a coherent conversation.  By definition – if you admitted that you would pull over (and you did), you have also admitted that you’re able to concentrate only on one thing.  It’s either driving, or having an intelligent conversation.

Are we to assume that despite the fact that while weaving in and out of traffic while trying to follow the flow in all six lanes, the deep conversation – about your youngest child being in detention because of an incident involving a fire alarm, a slinky and a Shetland pony – is perfectly safe because your hands are at 10 and 2?

Mobile phones have forever changed our habits and our ability to multi-task.  They’ve proven to be invaluable, and perfect for conversations akin to “Yes, Dear, I’ll get the milk”.  “Hi Bob, I’m running late”.  Or ”Yes I got your message.  You’re sure you destroyed every photo?”.   Our phones were not, I don’t believe, intended for deep conversations while driving.

Hands-free or not.

In the vast majority of locales, there are no laws that bar you from calling into a radio station, winning tickets for the Tiffany Comeback tour (thinking that your kid will totally adore her and maybe you’ll bond over this and they’ll be every bit as excited as you are right now)… listening to yourself on air …  while you shift, peck at a half-rack of ribs, and wash it down with a skinny double mocha frappacappa smoothie… while you’re piloting 4000 pounds of steel through similar obstacles at 110 kilometres per hour.  In the fog.  But it’s okay.  You’re on a hands-free.

As the driver directly in front of you, I don’t care what you’re eating.  I don’t care what you’re drinking.  And I don’t particularly care where your hands are.

I want to know where your head is.

Where do you draw the line when taking calls in the car?

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Posted on December 8, 2011, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. In my last job, we were provided with hands-free devices for the car. They were pretty neat, but I didn’t make more than a 1 minute “I’m running late” call on it. When I was talking my attention was not 100% on the road. It was like I got tunnel vision. Very scary.

  2. It is scary. But as long as it’s legal, we accept it.

    Would you be okay with your heart surgeon carrying on a conversation with his ex-wife over speaker phone as he completes a triple bypass?

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