April 30, 2012 at 11:48 AM

Green Means Go

"All I'm saying...is don't surf the web in your car and if you must, get better at doing it"

By José Smith

The Beans & Chile

José Smith is a writer, stay-at-home dad and fiend of excellent essays.

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Dear Fellow Santa Fean....I know you are staring down at your smartphone/toy while in your car, waiting at a red light. Recently I’ve noticed a rash of cases where lights turn green and you are not moving. One...two...five, even ten seconds will pass and you are stuck, motionless. I’ve seem some of you, red handed, doing it, but most of the time you are ahead of me. In those cases the only rational I’ve come to is that one) you suffer from some sort of delayed-reaction condition; two) you’re in some degenerative state of going blind; or three) you’re checking, probably (most likely, I’d bet my life on it) some inconsequential tidbit of information via social media. You may even be posting or tweeting at that very moment, letting all your “friends” and followers know how bored you are in traffic, how much you just can’t stand the seconds it takes for the light to turn green so you can move on with your boring life.

Now, I’d be a complete hypocrite if I said I’ve never checked a text or sent a text while stopped at a red light. In my defense, though, I am extremely adept at multitasking and I do have a high level of spatial awareness, which, in other words, means that I’m good at paying attention and responding to rapid changes that occur in my environment. Put simply, regardless of whatever distraction is occurring around me in my car, be it my two yelling tots, finding a new song to jam to, or checking a text at a red light, I go when the light turns green and plant my eyes on the road when my vehicle is moving. Of course, I don’t own a smartphone so maybe I’m not as “smart” as everyone else and just haven’t experienced the addictive rush of surfing the web while operating a motor vehicle.

All I’m saying, fellow Santa Fean, is don’t surf the web in your car and if you must, get better at doing it. Turn your preceptive radar up to 10 and pay attention to the world that exists beyond that little godly gadget of yours. Don’t make me wait longer than I have to at Cerrillos and St. Francis Drive, cause then I start cursing at you in my grandfather’s Spanish, and then I have to lie to my kids and say that daddy was saying "Hi" to a friend very excitedly, using pretty, colorful words.

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