You know what I wish I had?
A Weasley family clock from the Harry Potter books, that’s what.
I’d have a great big one, with all my loved ones on it (presumably I’d also have a big clear wall upon which to hang it), and I’d use it to keep track of when it was convenient for me to poke people–if they were listed as being “In Class”, for instance, I’d leave ’em alone. Ditto if it said “At Work”, or “At Dinner”, and I wouldn’t really count on a speedy reply if (heaven forbid) they were listed as “In Prison”.
And above all, I would use it to track when people were listed as “Traveling”.
Here’s the thing: it snowed overnight here in the middle of the country. Not particularly heavy snow in our area, and not particularly nasty sleety stuff, but, y’know, just some snow. Enough to make the lawn white and the dogs reluctant, and enough to make the roads a little tricky this morning.
And since I’m kinda fretful like that, I kept an eye on Facebook this morning to make sure everyone reported their uneventful arrivals at their various destinations–status updates like “Made it to work; would rather be in bed”, or “What a stupid day to have to go to school, especially since I walk”. And it was all going pretty well, until I saw a person mention that they’d been passed on the highway by someone who was texting.
Texting while driving.
On the highway.
In the snow.
Now, ordinarily this is where you’d see a full-blown Buffalo Tantrum. But it occurred to me, while I was working up a good head of steam for maximal shouting effect, that perhaps the problem–aside from a problem with misplaced priorities–is that we don’t have Weasley clocks.
Right now, for instance, I have a pretty good sense that Moon Man is at work, probably finishing up his lunch in the break room. More to the point, I’m reasonably sure that he is not currently driving anywhere, so I feel 98% confident that if I needed something from him, I could text him safely.
I do not, on the other hand, know where my younger brother is. He’s a truck driver, though, so there’s a decent chance that he is on the road. If I needed something from him, then…well, actually, if I needed something from him, I’d probably text his wife, because she’s more organized. But that’s not the point.
The point is that since none of us actually has a Weasley clock, we’re usually just at the mercy of habits and patterns to figure out where a loved one is at any given moment, and by extension, whether it’s safe to poke ’em about anything. And since I have the blessing of having a lot of people I love, this is honestly something of a craps shoot for me most of the time.
So I want to say something to all of you–everyone I love, everyone I text, everyone whom I will eventually love and periodically bother–for the record, right here in front of god and everybody:
I. Can. Wait.
I don’t have the benefit of knowing magically if you’re on the road when I text you…but I do have a deep mistrust of people who text while they drive. I can’t accurately guess what you’re up to at any given moment of the day, at least not for most of you, but I can guess that I am going to be very, very angry with you if I find out you took your eyes off the road to answer my presumably pretty unimportant poke.
I can tell you without any hesitation whatsoever that there is nothing–nothing–I will ever say to you electronically that is anywhere near critical enough to be the last thing you ever read. There is nothing–nothing–I will ever say to you electronically that is anywhere near critical enough to cause you to injure or (heaven forbid) kill someone else.
If I am having an emergency, there are people better qualified than you to help me with it. If I am sad or lonely, I have a lot of other loved ones. If I have a question about something, Google exists (and if I may brag a little bit, I have mad Google Fu).
Yesterday was Dad’s birthday, and I spent a certain portion of it crying quietly to myself because we had to celebrate it without him. We lost him to cardiovascular disease; these things happen, because bodies eventually give out.
I cannot tell you how angry I will be with you if I have to spend your birthday crying quietly to myself because you decided that answering my text was more important than paying attention to the road.
So let me say this again, just to make sure it’s crystal-clear in your mind: I. Can. Wait.
Please respect me enough to ignore my texts if I happen to poke you while you’re driving. Until I get my Weasley clock, I can’t guarantee I won’t accidentally pester you while you’re on the road; so I’ll just rely on you to guarantee that you will never, ever answer a text I send at a dangerous time.
If you love me, you’ll let me wait.
I promise to do the same for you.