Driver to Lawmakers: Hands Off My Water Bottle!
“Oh, come on!” I cried as I was reading the morning paper. “Why do they think everyone in New Jersey is so stupid that they have to make ridiculous laws to protect us?”
My son Alex walked out of his room. “What are you yelling about?”
“This!” I held up the newspaper. “Did you hear that they want to make a law that you can’t drink or eat anything while you’re driving?”
“Yeah, the Distracted Driving Bill. I heard about it.” Alex didn’t seemed fazed.
“So now if I want to take a sip from my bottle of water, I’m distracted!” I was still pretty fired up – maybe because I never left the house without a bottle of water tucked under my arm.
“How about if I sneeze? What about then? You know you can’t sneeze with your eyes open.” I was now pacing back and forth in the room. “Now if my allergies are kicking up and I sneeze, I’m distracted.” I turned to face Alex. “Are they going to ban sneezing next?”
Alex didn’t answer. That’s when my husband, Steven, walked in. “What’s going on?”
“Mom’s afraid she’s not going to be able drink from her water bottle while she’s driving.”
I was waving the newspaper at them. “According to this, if they pass this bill they can stop me if they think my head’s tipped back too far, finishing the last of my water.” I shook my head in disbelief. “You know, because my eyes will be off the road for a second.”
“They’re not going to stop you.” Steven reassured me. “That’s just the media exaggerating.”
“They’re not exaggerating.” I held up the paper as if it explained it all. “If I have a fender bender and they see an open bottle of water in my console they can say the fender bender happened because I was drinking water while I was driving.”
“If the accident happened because you were drinking, then they’d be right. You were distracted,” Steven argued.
“Oh, come on! Whose side are you on?” I cried. “You know what’s really distracting?”
Steven and Alex looked at each other, afraid to answer.
“I’ll tell you what’s distracting!” I tucked the paper under my arm and went over to the cabinet to get a bottle of water. “Two kids strapped in car seats behind you arguing about where we’re going to eat that night, McDonald’s or Burger King!” I looked over at Alex. “Now that’s distracting!”
Alex looked over at his dad. “Wow, that happened like 20 years ago.”
“And I still remember it like it was yesterday,” I said, opening the bottle of water to take a sip. “I almost hit a curb trying to break up that argument.” I looked at Steven. “So you think maybe the law will include driving with kids in the back seat?”
Steven and Alex just looked at one another.
“Well ...” I said.
“I’m sure the bill will get amended before it goes through,” Steven said as he took the newspaper from me.
“It better!” I took another sip of water. “They treat us like idiots!”
As they were both leaving the kitchen I could hear Alex whispering, “Wow, you threaten to take her water bottles away when she drives and she goes nuts.”
“You don’t even know the half of it,” Steven whispered back.
Kathy Miele lives in Eatontown, N.J.