Look Ma’, No Hands

Look Ma’, No Hands

Thank goodness New Jersey’s wise and caring lawmakers have seen fit to enact a hands-free cell phone law. .

What a distraction those rascally inventions had become. Why, I could barely avoid those orange cones on 295, much less that burly gentleman waving his “Give Us a Brake” flag, as my own phone jangled “Ode to Joy” over and over, and over again.

Besides, the caller was never bringing me tidings of joy. My teenage daughter would ring me up from the mall begging permission for a navel ring that I got the distinct impression was already in place. My son called to explain that it was just a “little” ticket and that the nice State Trooper even called him “sonny.” “Great sweetheart. I know that when I put it that way our insurance company will be happy to let this one slide. If not, I can always get a second job. “ My mother would call to tell me that my 74-year-old father was heading to my house to single-handedly remove the wasps’ nest from the top of my chimney. “Honey, do you think you can beat him there and hide that extension ladder somewhere?” “Sure,” I’d say in my cheeriest, most reassuring voice. Meanwhile I was silently screaming as I wracked my brain for the most appropriate spot to stash a 100 pound, 12-foot ladder. The mulch pile? The leaf pile? The pool?

But those are just bad memories now. The minute our police force was empowered to dish out real retribution (a $250 fine is definitely not a “little” ticket) I tossed my musical mayhem-maker into the pocket of the back seat along with a few petrified Cheerios and a travel Ouija board. I considered getting a speakerphone but quickly came to the conclusion that the sound of my family’s voices amplified and in a confined space would cause me to drive into a ditch, not necessarily by accident.

Ahh, free at last. Not just hands-free, but free-free.

Free to enjoy the solitude of my own thoughts. Free to contemplate my higher purpose. Free to enjoy a Big Mac and fries while steering with my knees.

Free to listen intently to my new Hare Krishna CD, “Chant Your Way to a Better Body.” Free to chant with abandon.

Free to apply mascara and lipstick as an eighteen-wheeler so kindly provides just the right lighting in my rear-view mirror. Free to perfect my yoga moves while stretching way across the front seat to the glove compartment, where I keep my favorite self-help tape, “Beauty Is Only Skin Deep,” right next to my eyelash curler.

Free to play the steering wheel drums when Phil Collins comes on that ‘70s station. Free to enter an alternate universe by switching to the rap station (did he say what I think he said?). Free to fiddle with the vents until air, warmed to exactly 72 degrees Fahrenheit, is swirling up from my feet and wafting over me counterclockwise.

And last, but not least, free to write myself reminders (“dismantle extension ladder”) on the old CVS receipt, the one with the expired coupon on it, protruding from the aforementioned vent.

Kudos Governor. Kudos State Legislature. Thank you for making New Jersey’s roads safe, and downright fun, to travel once more. Now if you could just do something about those cones.