Sundrop Over Smartphones

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Photo courtesy of Flickr user Brittany Randolph

The other day as I waited in line at a traffic light, I noticed the car in front of me, and the two beside me, all contained drivers working rapidly on smartphones. It seemed the only drivers in that line of traffic not using smartphones were myself and another old driver who was busy trying to spit in a Sundrop bottle. When the light changed, it seemed like it took forever before everyone was ready to move, because they had to get their thoughts together about driving and look back up from staring at all those little screens. At that moment, I sort of wished I had a Sundrop bottle to spit in, but I wasn’t chewing anything – except my words.

Social media has gained control of our lives to the point where many of us no longer are aware of what occurs around us. My friend Charles Curtiss, former state representative and now the executive director of the Tennessee County Commissioners Association, has a story that pretty well fit my experience at that traffic light.

It seems this young fellow had stopped behind this lady at a traffic light one afternoon. As they sat there waiting for the light to change, the lady was working with her smartphone and had become very involved in the messages she was reading. When the light changed, she continued to punch the keypad of her phone and lost complete reference to where she was, along with what she was supposed to be doing.

The young man behind her became increasingly furious and began screaming out the window, as well as beating on the side of his car. He also used language that was not necessary to the operation of a motor vehicle.

Stopped directly behind the young man was a policeman who had been watching the entire process of events, and after seeing all he needed to, he turned on his blue lights. The lady saw the lights in her mirror and took off, going out of sight. However, the policeman pulled up beside the young man and told him to pull over in a nearby parking lot.

The young man didn’t know why he was being pulled over and when the policeman approached him, he said, “Why are you stopping me? That lady who was holding up traffic is the one you want, not me! I haven’t done a thing wrong.”

The policeman told the young man to lock his car and come along with him to the station. All the way there, the young man continued to say he was not guilty of anything and that the policeman should be after the lady instead of him. Once at the police station, he was held for three or four hours in a small room.

Finally, the policeman who had arrested him came into the room and told him he could go. The young man exploded again and demanded to know why he had been brought down to the station.

The policeman looked at him and said, “As I sat there and watched you behind that lady, I couldn’t help but notice the cross on the chain hanging from your rearview mirror. Then I saw the bumper sticker that said ‘Jesus Is Lord.’ I also noticed you had a window decal that had the words ‘Follow me to Sunday School.’ After seeing all of those items and your actions, I came to the conclusion that this young fellow has stolen this car.”

Since hearing Charles Curtiss tell that story, I’ve often thought how many times someone could wonder if I’m driving the wrong vehicle. For some reason, when we get in a vehicle we assume we can’t be seen or our actions mean nothing, when in fact we become the proverbial people who live in glass houses. Our magnets on the rear of our vehicles may say one thing, but our actions tell a totally different story of who we really are.

Maybe we all need a Sundrop bottle instead of a smartphone. At least you have to look ahead to hit it.

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