I remember when multi-tasking while driving was considered changing CD’s. No wait. Let’s be honest. Cassette tapes. Okay, 8-track. Compared to today’s daily driving ritual, changing music while steering and watching the road is primitive. Today, everything in life – our conversations, our own thoughts, and yes, driving, has taken a backseat to our smart phones. I’m sure I’m not the only one and in fact, every so often there is a tragic story of some nice housewife who died on a train track waiting for the Bed, Bath and Beyond website to upload. I understand. A good deal on towels is important.
It’s a grey area for the law, but distracted driving is clearly black and white. The cops have a right and should pull you over if they sense you’re not in the present world of driving. Seeing you engaged in the deep world of online stuff, no matter if it’s searching for an open restaurant, they will nail you, as they should. Me, being a writer, my mind is constantly going. I’ll be on the road and suddenly a new idea for a screenplay or simply a great Tweet will occur to me. I will pull over and park. I don’t care if it makes me a little late. I have decided the idea in my head is more important and so is my safety and everyone else’s.
Maybe it’s the music that comes on the radio or a news report or you pass an intersection which brings back subconscious memory and triggers your deeper thinking creative mind strategies, but for me, driving stimulates ideas. Like working out at the gym. Physical movement gets my mind going. It’s like when I moved from L.A. to New York. Suddenly 25 years of being in a car was now replaced by walking this giant myriad of concrete structures, this mysterious canyon of people and ideas and commerce. Not so much on a flight. Even though I’m moving much faster, it seems slower. Time to sleep, read or watch a film. Not for strategic creative thinking, which is what I’m good at. However; driving along Ventura Boulevard does move my mind.
Searching on Google Maps is one thing; checking Facebook is another, but writing an email to a colleague, while you’re at a stoplight is almost okay, but I wouldn’t advise it. You may be in the middle of a thought then awoken out of it by the impatient honking of the guy behind you.
But, it’s perhaps driving in the San Fernando Valley which is such a unique experience. In some ways it’s like living in a small suburban town which sits in the middle of one of the world’s biggest metropolis. Studio City is just this nice section of the Valley you can find great restaurants and shops and still find quiet off the grid streets where the cutest of homes live. And, yet, Studio City is a showbiz town. CBS Studio Center (aka Radford Studios) is right here, where they shot Mary Tyler Moore, Gilligan’s Island, and even going way back to the Keystone Cops. Right across the street from Trader Joes.
The mind is mysterious thing. It can look for answers even if we don’t know there’s even a question. Things can plague us. Those things we want to take care of but never do. I had a car I loved, literally to death. I drove it cross country three times and it was just sitting in my driveway like an ex-wife. It’s visage nagging me incessantly. Finally, I decided to do something about it. I called 818 Cash for Cars. Within an hour and a half, a rep was at my house with cash in hand and all I had to do was sign a few forms and hand them over the keys. Easiest thing I’ve done all day.
You can really get lost on those little smart phones and ironically they can easily block out the larger world outside your car. Do yourself a favor and pull over, park, then look at your phone.
Be safe out there.