California on Friday banned motorists from talking on cell phones unless they use a headset or speakerphone, although the law will not take effect until July 1, 2008, to allow time to educate the public. Wait a second - or a year - time to educate the public? To teach them that driving while you're ordering Thai food or screaming at your housekeeper with one hand while you gesture wildly and try to shift with the other is a bad idea? Okay.
I confess: I own a cell phone and have found it very convenient for making connections from places and situations that might have proved inconvenient at best without one. I have also made cellular phone calls from moving vehicles. I am proud to say, however, that I have not been driving any of these vehicles (including the Monorail at Disneyland). This makes me just pompous and smug enough to holler, "Hang up and drive," at drivers who are periodically oblivious to the world outside of their rolling phone booth.
It's reminiscent of what I've always felt about the world inside your car: Once the door closes, the engine starts, and the radio comes on, the inviso-ray takes over and you can no longer be seen behind the wheel. This is how nose-picking and singing at the top of your lungs to REO Speedwagon happens to good people.
So, come 2008, you won't be able to have one-handed conversations with your optometrist. You can use a headset or a hands-free speaker attachment, but you will have to pay a fine for driving with your phone stuck to the side of your head. The exception to this rule is if you are making an emergency phone call. I wonder if calling Moviefone to find out the next available showing of "An Inconvenient Truth" counts as an emergency.