Shocking news! This weekend, The New York Times reported that people are pulling over and parking sometimes to use smart phones, and sometimes that makes other people angry. Oh my willakers! This is nonsense.
Here is a befuddling passage sure to make you feel something, somehow, in some way:
Brianne Miller was parked recently in downtown San Francisco e-mailing on her BlackBerry. She heard a honk, looked up and discovered a man in a BMW waiting for her spot. She signaled to him that she would be a few more minutes.
"He flashed an obscene gesture," she said. She smiled and waved, trying not to escalate things. "He sped off in a huff," she added with a laugh. "It was a really, really good spot."
That rascal! I basically have two reactions to this. (I mean, aside from groaning and rolling my eyes at what very well may be the dumbest fake trend story of 2012.)
First, shouldn't we be very glad that drivers have become sensible enough about smart phones that they use them after walking and before driving? If you are on the go, there is no better place to do a device check than in a parked car. The Times talks to safety advocates, and drivers who have been shamed-by-Oprah (and truly, haven't we all been shamed by Oprah at some point) into not texting while driving to prove the point that this is good behavior. But, really, that should just go without saying by this point. Oprah-dotes aside, people are using their phones more, not less, while driving. If you're mad at someone for taking up a space to use a smartphone, think how angry you'd be if you were, say, rear-ended by someone using a smartphone instead. (Hello! This was me.)
Second—and this is the real intellectual heft to my argument—fuck you. No, no, really, fuck you. If you are blowing your horn at me for any reason other than a safety issue, fuck you. That parking space is mine for as long as I am in it.
I'm not going to live there! I'm not going to camp there! But I may need ten minutes or so to check and respond to my email. The tyranny of email beats the tyranny of your hornblowing every time, jerk. The bottom line is, the longer you blow your horn, or if you do flip me a bird, the more likely I am to post pictures of you freaking out on Twitter before playing a quick game of Draw Something. Your move.