1.14.2010

{ Hey lady- are you talking to your pants? }


I am a big fan of a British accent.  This is probably why I'm a big fan of British TV.  I think that the line,  "I'm not dead yet"would be a lot less "hey, that's really funny" and a lot more "hey, someone call 911" if the Monty Python guys sounded like they were from Brooklyn... and I'm pretty sure that Mr. Darcy would have a lot fewer followers if he sounded like an accountant from Salt Lake City.

The British can get away with saying things that other people just can't.  Like when I heard Nigella Lawson  use the term "spotted dick" in an interview on NPR. With a British accent?  A yummy pudding/dessert that sounds like it would be good with cream.  Without a British accent?  A horrible, horrible disease that requires lots of tests and  a totally different kind of cream.  (Also, laughter.  The kind of 7th-grade-health-class laughter that you try not to do, but can't quite manage it.)

The British accent is also one reason why I like the British period/costume dramas.  You name it, I've seen it.  Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Cranford, Return to Cranford, North and South. (When my friend A. suggested that I see this last one, I thought she was talking about the trashy mid-1980s miniseries starring Patrick Swayze pre-"Dirty Dancing".  I was so excited that  someone outside of my family actually watched that thing, that I started to clap and yelled out "I love North and South".  Turns out that my admission was slightly premature.  When she asked me if I liked  the book too, I started to suspect that she did not share my love of the Civil War soap opera genre. I forgave her after I watched her North and South.)

My favorite, favorite word from the British costume drama is "vex".  Vex, vexing, vexed, sorely vexed, vexation.  Basically, this is a word that tells someone that they're the most annoying person ever, but in a way that requires them to think "Oh my gosh.  I vexed her.  What does that mean?  I'd better apologize right now and never, ever do that again.  Oh, and I should probably send flowers - just in case".

I am currently waiting for my flowers from the State of Oregon - because they have vexed me.

Beginning January 1st it became illegal in my state to use a hand held cell phone while driving a car.  Like "pull you over and charge you money" illegal...and if that's not vexing I don't know what is.  Personally, I don't see how talking to one person on my cell phone can possibly be any more distracting than listening to my daughter tell me about her 10 year old girl drama while my son recites random (and often totally boring) facts about birds that he learned during his science unit while my other son sings the song from Star Wars that warns you that Darth Vader is on the move while the baby does his impression of a very loud, very vexed Pavarotti.  One adult conversation vs. Four kid conversations.  I think you've outlawed the wrong conversations, State of Oregon bossy rule writers.

In an attempt to stick it to the man and thwart what I'm fairly certain is some kind of conspiracy between the legislature and the powerful cell phone accessories lobby (where's Michael Moore when you need him), I tried to come up with a few ways to avoid buying some kind of new head set/ear piece/cell phone-surround-sound device.  My "go to" was, (what else), duct tape to the dash board.  This was unsuccessful for two reasons.  1.)  I couldn't find my duct tape  2.)  I was afraid that the tape would leave a residue on my phone and then it would stick to my face while I was doing non-car talking.  I decided that a duct tape facial/hair removal was not something that I was interested in.

My sisters had some promising ideas.  One suggested tying a string around the phone and hanging it from the rear view mirror - like fuzzy dice.  I'm not sure how you string up a cell phone, but I was concerned that even if I managed such an engineering feat, that the phone would go swinging around, bashing into the windshield, forcing me to hold on to it, effectively defeating the "hands free" goal.

Another suggested that I just stick it in the visor.  I tried this one, but the only way I could manage to get it to stay in there ended up blocking the voice receiver part.  I kept having to talk really loud and point my chin up as far as I could so that my mouth would be closer to the microphone.  Again, I didn't think that perpetually looking at the ceiling of the car while operating a moving vehicle was going to help with the "distracted driver" thing.

So, basically for the last two weeks I've been, (what my sisters and I are now referring to as) "crotch talking".  In other words, yelling at the speaker-phone in my lap, while both hands are on the wheel.  The upside to this is that it doesn't cost any money.  The down side?  (Beside talking at your crotch)- the person you're talking to only hears every third word you say which is mingled with the drama-birds-Vader-Pavarotti mess you've got going on behind you.  This means that you are constantly repeating yourself, thus using three times the minutes of a normal conversation... thus costing you money.

I finally admitted defeat to my cell phone accessory maker foe, and told my husband that we were going to have to buy a hands free device for me to use in the car.  It was then, after 13 days of sort- of -lawbreaking, that I found out that my husband owns an extra head set/ear piece thing, (which he claims he told me about some time in December)...

... and without even attempting a British accent, I let him know that I found the whole thing extremely vexing...and that I will be expecting flowers.
Bookmark and Share

10 comments:

Amy Jo said...

Absolutely fabulous. I need to take a mental note that when I am driving in Oregon that I need to take up crotch talking. I definitely don't want to be pulled over.

The Laundry Queen said...

Har. As usual. ; )

Shelli said...

I haven't laughed that hard in ages...I actually teared up! Drama, scientific facts, Star Wars music and opera in the back seat! Sounds like my car about six years ago, minus the Pavorotti...not enough kids to pull that one off! Thanks, E! I was excessively diverted by your prose!

Julie Heugly said...

I love that I can always count on your posts for a good and much needed laugh.

Afton said...

Spotted dick! I love it.

carmar76 said...

Marvelous posting, and I feel your vexation at the state of Oregon. I don't get the hands free phone laws, because let's count the numerous other "hands free" activities the average driver engages in on a daily basis - changing the radio station and/or adjusting the volume; smoking; eating a meal on your way to wherever you're going; drinking the soda/juice/coffee you just picked up at the drivethru; sneezing; handing the sippy cup back to the child in the backseat. I'm sure there are more, but those are just off the top of my head.

I mean, I'm glad I DON'T get pulled over for those things. *laugh*

Jadie said...

literally...peeing...in my pants...right now. Gotta go...

Loralee and the gang... said...

Yeah, I don't get it, either. Aside from dialing the phone (but everyone you want to talk is on speed-dial anyway, aren't they?) I REALLY don't think talking on the phone is any more or less dangerous than talking to any other person that's INside the car. Puh-leez. Another exammple of Big Bro trying to take over. That's why I am glad I live in Idaho. No such law. Yet. Probably won't happen 'til it becomes a FEDeral. law. And then we will know it's all over...

Chelly said...

*speechless* But laughing reeeaaallly hard LOL OH my gosh I needed this! :o) Thanks Ms. E!

Genet said...

Agree. If they want to decrease driving while distracted, it would definitely be more effective to outlaw driving my children anywhere. Plus both "hands-free devices" that we own seem to work fine with my husband's phone but don't want to cooperate with mine. Hence, very little car talk for me these past few weeks -- very vexing. When else is a mom with 4 kids supposed to get in a good conversation?