I learned my lesson

I was about to leave the supermarket parking lot. A lady tapped on my window with a concerned look on her face. “Did you know that it’s unsafe to drive while listening to headphones?”

My reply: “Thanks for letting me know.”

Inside my head: “I know that. I’m driving extra carefully while I have these on. And did you know that deaf people drive too?”

The lesson I learned? I often have the urge to tap on people’s car windows while they are sitting with their engine running for long periods of time and say, “I have to breathe this air. Would you mind turning your engine off?”

I won’t.

Reason? That lady made me feel angry toward her. I don’t want people to feel angry toward me — and they may not change, anyhow, so it would just be a waste of my (ahem) breath.

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5 Replies to “I learned my lesson”

  1. I disagree. It’s unsafe to be a pedestrian around someone who’s driving wearing headphones — it’s not necessarily unsafe for the driver… But then, it’s also just unsafe to drive… I drove around LA in a cheap hire car listening to music through headphones — in parts of LA it’s just unsafe.

    There’s no point to this comment, other than agreeing that I usually want to justify myself when someone else tells me I’m doing something wrong — it’s tough to give strangers permission to correct you — oh, and to say thanks for the post.

  2. For me, the lesson is to consider my response carefully. Your polite “thank you” avoided a confrontation in which you couldn’t have changed her mind, just like the “not tapping on the window” thing.

    Being right” at the expense of anger and division just isn’t worth it. Thanks.

  3. Phil: I know it is more unsafe to drive with headphones. But I was taking a risk. Also, there are no pedestrians in suburban America. (Just kidding — but people haven’t learned how to walk like people in the UK know how to do.)

    And LA is a crazy place to drive. I was in an accident there. I just didn’t react fast enough. (It was a pile-up on one of the major freeways.)

    Rich: It was nothing short of a miracle that I responded in a non-confrontational way. The thoughts about deaf drivers came later, thankfully. I think she was having a bad day.

  4. Next time you guys visit California, don’t let a cop see you — it’s illegal to drive with headphones on. And our freeways aren’t really so bad. There’s usually too much traffic to move!

    1. Good to know that!

      And Deb — you are a pro at driving out there. When I had my accident, I was just learning the ropes.

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