Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I Hear You in my Ear

Inevitable. The days were numbered. Soon, all drivers in Oregon will have to use hands-free devices if they want to make calls while driving. No word has been said about whether it will be okay to pull over to the side of the road and make a call using a phone to your ear. I personally don't see a problem with that: you're off the road. Just make sure you get off the road.

I purchased a Bluetooth earpiece several months ago and used it fairly successfully a few times since then. However, it doesn't fit quite right so it's uncomfortable to wear for very long. It also doesn't get the best connection at times. But it's "safer" so I continue to use it.

These little earpieces seem to have one consistent flaw, though. They don't always call who I tell them to call. Using the hands-free dialing, my conversation with the earpiece went something like this:

Phone: *beeeeeeeep* "Say a command."
Me: "Call someone."
Phone: "Command unrecognized. Say a command."
Me: "CALL someone, dammit."
Phone: "Say a name."
Me: "Mom."
Phone: "Did you say, 'Dad'?"
Me: "No."
Phone: "Did you say, 'Grandma'?"
Me: "No, you idiot, I said 'Mom.'"
Phone: "Say a name."
Me: "You're a bad phone."
Phone: "Calling Dad..."

At this point I had to take the earpiece out of my ear, grab my phone to quickly hang up on my father, and avert my eyes from the precious empty road. Another time, I asked the phone to call my sister, it confirmed, "Calling Sister..." and called a friend instead. Because I wasn't looking at the phone to see who was being called, I didn't even know what to say when a male voice answered instead of my sister's. I asked, "Hello, is this... is my sister there?" The voice replied, "No, do you know who you called?" While driving with an earpiece, I had to pick up the phone and look to see who I'd called.

You tell me which is safer: using one-button dialing to get the person I want and hold onto the phone, or potentially dial the wrong person, have to retrieve my phone from my pocket, open it, and view my phone's activities using multiple buttons. Not to mention having the earpiece potentially fall out while I'm driving.

Yes, there's always the option to not talk while driving. There's also the option to not eat, smoke, or drink water out of a water bottle. There's the option to not have screaming children in the back seat demanding attention. There's the option to not allow anyone over fifty-years-old to not drive. There's the option to ban driving after dark. How about we remove driving entirely, including buses and trains: everyone must be forced to walk!

I just wish my phone earpiece would dial the correct numbers. That's all I'm asking.

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