Tag Archive for: Cell Phone

Horse and Buggy Redux

By AB Plum

A rep from the National Transportation Safety Board recently exhorted the California legislature to pass a law banning all cellphone use while driving. Yes, this included hands-free usage while behind the wheel.



Such a law will pass when cows give chocolate milk.
Or when we find gold coins in the street.
Or when parents stop giving their kids phones at age 3 (and younger).
Or when couples go to dinner and actually talk to each other without their cells on the table.
Or when non-emergency workers leave their phones in a room other than the bedroom.
Or when pedestrians cross streets looking around them versus texting on their cells.

Do I sound like a Luddite?


But … I realize how unenforceable such a law would be. At the same time, I wonder if stronger restrictions are possible with teenage drivers? All the multi-tasking myths aside, driving requires concentration. Talking on a phone is distracting. Ergo, chances of accidents go up.

Of course teenagers counter with the irrefutable argument, “our reflexes are better than old people’s reflexes, so if they can use a hands-free cell, why can’t we?

The discussion will go on and on. Legislators will avoid taking action because they’re politicians. Twenty years from now, babies will be born clutching cell phones in their hands—an electronic umbilical cord which won’t get cut at delivery.

Did our great-great-great-great grandparents debate the pros and cons of reading the newspaper while driving their horse-drawn buggies?

What about you? Are you a hands-free driver? Do you ride with a teenage driver who chats on her phone while navigating traffic?

AB Plum gives her cellphone number to her husband, children, brother, and best friend. They know better than to call her on it because she rarely carries it—especially in her car. An unrepentant Luddite, she lives and writes in the heart of Silicon Valley. She’s considering writing a Sci-Fi novella about a society without cellphones.

Her latest mystery novel, All Things Considered, releases on April 25. “How does an insomniac sleep through two bullets that killed her rock-star lover?” Preorder here and solve the mystery. 

I often offer bonuses to readers of my newsletter. If you’re interested in these exclusives, sign up here. 

Pirates & Cell Phones

Two things have been on my mind this week – okay more than that – but I’m going to blog about two – pirates and cell phones.

The summer before 9/11 my brother and I visited the Outer Banks of North Carolina. We had a great trip. One day was spent on Ocracoke Island – one of Blackbeard’s main ports. One man’s thief is another man’s folk hero. Depending on whose ships he was robbing, he was either praised or decried.

Pirate legends – as depicted in books and movies are romantic. As a child I saw the movie – A High Wind in Jamaica. The plot involves children captives on a pirate ship – a great sailing adventure for all involved.

Johnny Depp has the pirate persona down – or at least Hollywood’s latest version of a pirate. I wonder if that will change now that real pirates are in the news.

On Easter Sunday, the nation received the news of U.S. Navy’s rescue of ship captain Richard Phillips. Three Somali pirates were killed in the effort. One pirate was captured – reports have him as too young to be prosecuted as an adult in the U.S. I don’t fault the Navy for their heroic actions – the pirates left them no reasonable choice.

Pirates are holding about a dozen other ships with more than 200 crew members, according to the Malaysia-based piracy watchdog International Maritime Bureau. Hostages are from Bulgaria, China, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, the Philippines, Russia, Taiwan, Tuvalu and Ukraine, among other countries.

I don’t understand how the situation has been allowed to get to this point – unarmed commercial cargo ships being hijacked by pirates in speedboats with armed with rockets and AK-47s. Why in the world would cargo ships carrying millions of dollars of supplies be unarmed?

The U.S. Navy won’t be able to be in right spot at the right time to protect all American cargo ships. The ship companies are going to have to step up and defend themselves. Today’s pirates are young, poor, and fearless. They have nothing to lose, which means they are too dangerous for us to ignore them – or Somalia – anymore.

Now for the cell phone part of this blog – I had to upgrade from my beloved Blackberry Pearl to a Blackberry Curve. I say “had to” because I wore the trackball out on my Blackberry Pearl and when I went to T-Mobile to replace it, I found “my” phone was out-of-stock. I don’t know how long it would take to find another Blackberry Pearl like my old one. Apparently the world of cell phones has moved on. I didn’t want a flip phone version. And I’m not ready for a 3G phone. But I did need a new phone – and quickly. I carry my phone everywhere. If I forget and leave it at home, I have to drive back and pick it up. I admit it – I’m a Blackberry addict.

So getting the new phone was traumatic. As I moved my memory card from my old Blackberry Pearl to the strange phone that arrived by Federal Express, I had a lot of regrets at retiring my old friend.

The new phone doesn’t feel the same. Sure, it’s easier to type on and the screen is bigger, but … it’s not my Blackberry yet.

Evelyn David