HALLIE EPHRON: One of my favorite NY Times stories this year was about a woman who ran into a truck. Parked in a driveway. She was talking on her cell phone at the time.
I thought of that story last week as I got off a train at Penn Station and was nearly run off the platform by a woman racing diagonally across the platform and talking into her cell phone. New York City crowds are already tricky to navigate, but these people are making it truly dangerous.
Do you keep your phone turned on and whip it out whenever it rings? Are you happy to talk to whoever calls whenever and wherever? Do you talk or text while walking? While driving?? And if you're talking and you, you know, have to go, do you take it with you?
And most importantly, have you developed any clever evasive maneuvers to avoid being injured by the oblivious?
DEBORAH CROMBIE: Oh, Lord. I live in a state where texting and driving seems to be the norm. It is INSANE. Can I say that any louder without violating ethernet protocol????
I've been bumped into on the street and in railway stations in London by people texting while walking, but they seem to be able to do two things at once better than Americans. Here in North Texas, if you see someone going twenty in a fifty, or weaving all over the road, or sitting at the stoplight long after it's turned green, we used to say, "They're drunk." Now we say, "They're texting."
I do keep my phone turned on, but don't answer when I'm with other people unless I think it's an emergency. And I don't text until I'm parked.
RHYS BOWEN: They've made it a law not to text and drive in California, and to talk on the phone using a hand-held device but I don't think that stops people. I was driving up Highway 5 when the car in front of me in the fast lane started weaving all over the place. I passed him on the slow lane as quickly as I could and saw it was a young man, completely absorbed in texting. Things happen so quickly when you're doing 70 miles an hour that this is insane. And I haven't developed any maneuver except being extra vigilant and giving anyone behaving dubiously a wide, wide berth.
I'm still amazed by the way cell phones have taken over our lives. I went to a school concert at my grandson's school. There were a couple of teenage girls at the next table and they were texting all through the concert. I'm sure they had no idea what was going on. So rude.
JAN BROGAN: The simple answer is No. I cannot talk and chew gum. People who know me well always make sure to ask if I'm driving when I answer the cell phone. If I say yes, they immediately yell at me to hang up and call them back later. I'm probably dangerous even when I'm just driving and listening too intently to a book-on-tape or NPR.
LUCY BURDETTE: Remind us to drive when we go on the Jungle Red tour Jan:).
I'm kind of a curmudgeon when it comes to the phone. We finally got caller ID and absolutely love it! As for driving and texting, I can't think of much to add--it's so risky! We had some friends over last night and one of the guys was laughing about texting, changing clothes, and eating a sandwich all while racing to the golf course. It's funny to hear him talk about it, but can only hope he's exaggerating for the effect!
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Oh, do NOT get me started. Well, too late. I love my phone as much as anyone else, but I am capable of turning it off.
Yes, Hallie, I do leave it on, but I never talk while driving. As for texting--I am in downtown Boston all the time ,and EVERYONE is ALWAYS on their phones.Talking or texting or looking like wackos because they are talking with earbuds and it looks like they are talking to no one. I think- the world is passing you by, folks!
And I cannot begin to say how many times I've seen phoners walk in front of cars. it is--terrifying and ridiculous. I saw a cartoon the other day depicting a crowd of people. all texting, and the caption was something like: "You are already zombies."
HALLIE: So, don't mince words! Tell us how you feel about pedestrians and drivers texting while in motion? About guests at your dinner table texting while you flambe the cherries jubilee. Are you looking forward to when car makers can embed more "infotainment" in your car's dashboard, or do you see it as the end of civilization as we know it, and certainly hazardous to our health?