Tag Archives: drive

Distraction Drama Dismay

The twitchier I get, the more inventive I get.

What with the youngest dude, Hyper Lad, starting to get behind the wheel now that he’s 15, I’m probably more twitchy then I’ve ever been when I consider having to teach this guy how to drive.

I feel like one of those short-timers from any movie about Vietnam. As the date they will rotate home gets closer and closer, they get more and more paranoid about something happening to them before they get out.

I’ve made it through teaching two other young dudes how to drive, but now that the last one is come around, I’m starting to freak out more than I ever have before.

Fortunately for me, I actually have made it through two other driving debuts so I do have a couple of tricks in my bag.

The first big trick in the bag is repetition, which is the trick I take out of the bag first. This is one trick I have been using for a long time with things like texting. Knowing I have/had three sponges sitting behind me, I make sure to loudly and often refer to the fact that I got a text, but can’t read it because I was driving. Or I will ask one of them to read aloud the text and respond.

They have heard again and again, seen again and again and again, that they should not text and drive. I get the feeling that they’re more likely than not to follow in those footsteps, if only to avoid having to hear me talk about it again and again and again and again. . .

Since the spawn couldn’t see my face while I was driving and they riding, I made sure to continually talk about how I was keeping my eyes on the road even when I had to change the radio or something similar. I recommend them getting to know their car/dashboard well enough that they don’t have to look to hit the radio buttons.

While this next step might be corny, I think it really does work. Before I allowed any of the young dudes to drive on their own, I sat them down and went over point by point exactly what was expected of them. For each point, they had to tell me specifically that they would not or would do that point. You also can do the same thing in a written contract they must sign.

Include repercussions that will occur to the young driver should he or she violate the terms of the promise/agreement. And enforce those terms.

While not necessarily distracting, one thing I have made sure they know is something that my mom made me understand. If I was ever out with friends and either I, as driver, or my friend, as driver, had been drinking, I could call my mom and she would pick everyone up, no matter the time, and never say another word about it.

I only ever called her once, but she was true to her word. I’ve made sure that my young dudes understand that as well. If there is any sign of impairment, they always know they have a free, safe ride without any sort of blowback for them. Knowing that we trust them enough that we’ll offer that kind of thing, actually helps them to do the right thing because they want to live up to that trust.

Or at least that was how I felt when I was on the other end of the bargain.

In North Carolina, new drivers aren’t allowed to stuff the car with their friends. Neither are new drivers with the last name of Jones, who live in Casa de Dude. We make it a point for our young dudes to understand that their first job as drivers is to make their way from Point A to Point B safely. Bringing along anyone else is way, way down the list.

Friends in the car can be even more distracting than driving by a 10-car pile-up of a circus truck, a shipment from a marble factory and a funeral home for mimes.

The two big takeaways from this would have to be make sure you model good driving behavior and communicate with your neophyte driver, which means both of you talk and both of you listen.

Distraction starts behind the eyeballs. Fortunately, safety does as well, so make sure there’s more room for safety.

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Whoopsie! Travel Time Trumps Tumultuous Trip*

I just got back from Washington, DC.

Zippy the Travelin’ Boy, Hyper Lad and I had to make a quick trip to the nation’s capital so that my middle son could live up to his new name.

I’m more than happy to talk to all you dudes and dudettes about the whole thing (that is, whine, whine, whine). . . However, I sort of ran out of time and had to drive home all day yesterday. Which meant I didn’t have time to do more than, well, this.

However, if you’re missing your almost-daily dude dose, I’ve got good news. I’ve just been asked to be a return guest on WCNC’s Charlotte Today newsotainment program.

Charlotte Today

I’ll be there talking about how dads get shortchanged on Fathers’ Day as compared to moms on Mothers’ Day. Whining! It’s what I do best. Although, this is more-than-short notice, so I’m going to have to work to be funny.

If you can’t watch WCNC live from 11 am to noon, you can always find the segment on the Charlotte Today website.

I’ll be back tomorrow with an actual dose of alleged humor.

Footnotes & Errata

* There’s a pretty good chance that I might be slightly too fond of alliterative wording. Once it gets started, it’s quite difficult to stop.

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Facebook Literally Saved Her Life

SquareP is alive today because of Facebook.

Yes, I mean the Facebook you’re all thinking about, the social media gathering place for all of us old people now that the young have bolted for places like tumblr, snapchat and Instagram and others.

Okay, yes, Facebook did have a little help, but I think it’s safe to say that, without Facebook, there’s a very real possibility that a woman I’ve known for decades, SquareP, could be dead.

It started last week when my wife, known herein after for this post as The Doc, was out of town giving a couple of different lectures. She’s only been on the Facebook for a couple of months and has taken to it like a duck to water.

So, she was out of town and being driven from one lecture in Tennessee to the second lecture in Asheville, NC. As she was being driven along, she decided to check in on Facebook to see what was happening.

In her stream, she found a post by SquareP that said she was having a really bad headache and wanted suggestions.

“I couldn’t believe it,” The Doc said. “Is this how we get our health care now? From Facebook?”

When she related the story to me later, I told her to think of it as someone hanging around in the breakroom and asking co-workers if they knew anything for a headache.

Moving on.

The more The Doc read about SquareP’s headache, the less she worried about the rest of the posts and the more worried she became about her friend.

“Initially, I told her it was a migraine and suggested some medications that could help,” said The Doc.

However, SquareP insisted she had never had a migraine before and denied that it was one because this was the worst headache she’d ever had in her life. At which point all the alarm bells began ringing in the back of The Doc’s brilliant brain.

“The worst headache of your life. . . That’s a prime reason to go to an emergency room or urgent care and get evaluated. It could be a lot of things and none of them are good.”

The Doc posted that SquareP should call her. Immediately. The phone conversation consisted of The Doc listening for a few minutes and then suggesting — in the strongest, most order-like fashion — that SquareP hie herself to an urgent care facility or emergency room stat! Apparently, The Doc managed to scare SquareP enough that she did just that.

I’ll let SquareP tell the next bit in her own words.

Was diagnosed with a blood clot in my brain. Scared the hell out of me but it’s completely treatable. So if you find yourself having horrible headaches especially if you’re not prone to them and they come out of nowhere, get yourself to the ER. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Yes, dudes, a blood clot in the brain. As SquareP said, very treatable with blood thinners and the like, but damn scary. It had nothing to do with me and it nearly scared me insensate.*

It was an amazing set of coincidences that allowed all this to happen. SquareP happened to post asking Facebook for help about her headache at just the exact same time that The Doc just happened to be flipping through Facebook and had the time to respond. SquareP actually called The Doc and The Doc talked SquareP into getting evaluated in person by a medical professional.

Long-distance scaring by The Doc leading to a longer life for SquareP. And today she’s home and all is good.

Without Facebook, none of this happens and the outcome could have been much, much worse. And here I was thinking bad thoughts about the usefulness of Facebook. I take it all back.**

Footnotes & Errata

* Ha, ha. Yes, fine. It doesn’t take much. Very funny.
** Well, most of it, anyway. There’s still plenty to annoy.

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