These are the new rules. They're not official yet, but they're coming. They're coming either through the adoption of long-overdue laws or the steeling of the collective societal resolve against rampant rudeness and the ever-increasing encroachment into the peaceful conduct of our everyday lives.
You can't say you didn't see it coming, and you know you brought it upon yourselves. Technology gave you an inch and the fact that your mama didn't teach you any manners prompted you to take a mile. You've made it so that truly good drivers are afraid to get in their cars; people don't want to go to the movies or public gatherings; and the average guy can't even go get groceries without being subjected to the details of some stranger's pathetic freakin' life story.
Robert Bork had it wrong; we're not slouching toward Gomorrah. We're slouching toward Babel. Things seem to get worse every day, but you are sadly mistaken if you think that rampant bad behavior will just be accepted as the norm with a shrug and a sigh. The changes are coming and they're coming hard.
RULE #1. One way or another, you're going to stop talking on the phone while driving.
The average driver is ... well, average, hence the term. However, it's one of those quirks of modern society that just about everybody considers himself to be above-average or even excellent when it comes to driving. It's odd, really. People will readily admit that they're no good in math; heck, they'll brag about it. But when it comes to driving, they're self-deluded.
The majority of drivers are average or below average. If you don't understand that, it's probably because you suck so badly at math, too. So you take a driver who's at best average and you add a serious distraction, it's a recipe for disaster.
Legislators have been reluctant to pass laws against cell-phone use by drivers and it's obvious why. They drive around Phoenix all day selling themselves to lobbyists, and if they didn't have a cell phone while they're on their way to the nudie bar for lunch, they might miss an opportunity to whore themselves out to some other special interest.
Plus, they don't give a crap about public safety. The cell-phone lobby is powerful; good and decent people who just want to get in their cars and go from Point A to Point B without risking their lives don't have a lobby.
Last year, one of our Elected Anuses killed a bill because there "wasn't enough data" on the hazards of driving while talking on the phone. Actually, several studies show that phone-talking drivers are a hazard. That still won't prompt the spineless lizards into doing what's right. What will is a lawmaker's favorite phrase: revenue stream.
Make phone-talking-while-driving a crime, slap a $250 fine on it and all of a sudden, cash-strapped municipalities, counties and states are in the money. It's an easy infraction for a cop to spot and absolutely provable, thanks to technology that reveals whether that phone was in use at the time. Why, they might even have federal grants to hire cops whose only job it is to drive around and bust cell-phone talkers. I know how much Phil Murphy would love that.
RULE #2. If your phone rings in church, you're going straight to Hell.
This isn't man's law; it's Somebody Else's. And you might as well answer it and tell whomever's calling that you're going straight to Hell, because you might not get the opportunity later.
RULE #3. If you talk on a cell phone in a grocery (or department) store, you're an idiot and must accept it when people subsequently treat you like an idiot.
You're going to the grocery store to buy something. Go in the store and buy it. Leave the phone in the car. Cut the umbilical cord, you pus-oozing loser. It'll only be a couple minutes. Then, when you get out to the car, if you've got the shakes, call one of your phone buddies who also has no life and exists only to talk on the phone (mostly about how they have no life). After you're done, hang up the phone and drive home, where you can get right back on the phone again and tell everybody about your drive home from the grocery store.
RULE #4. If you insist on talking on a phone in front of a captive audience while at the checkout stand at the grocery store, all of the other people have the right to pelt you with insults, produce and canned goods.
Last week, I suffered in line while some junior high-school dropout with two kids already unleashed on the world and another in the oven talked on the phone about her sex life. As she talked, the kid who was in the shopping cart snacked on her own snot while the one out of the cart tried to shoplift everything in sight.
If the New Rules had been in existence, that woman's forehead would have been dented like a half-price can of pork 'n' beans.
Please don't make the mistake of thinking that these ideas are far-fetched. Remember, it wasn't that long ago that people were able to smoke anywhere and any time they wanted. At work, on airplanes, in movie theaters. Now, you drive by some building on a weekday and you see the pitiful folks with sallow skin and premature wrinkles standing outside, huddled against the wind and cold or baking in the heat, puffing away and cursing their existence.
It won't be long before public cell-phone talk is considered noise pollution and dealt with accordingly. You were given a nice little toy to play with, but you insisted on going over to somebody else's house and trying to shove it up their butt. Now the tide is turning and your boorish and destructive behavior will soon be unacceptable.
Quick, call every single person you know and tell them before it's too late.