I enjoy going to the dentist

  • Published
  • By Jan Dalton
  • 934th Airlift Wing Safety
I have a Type-A personality. No big surprise there. What might be surprising though is, I enjoy going to the dentist, and you'll never guess why. As a Type-A I'm usually in motion.

Like many of you, I work a full-time job, run errands (and in an effort to stay fit, run around the block a few times every morning), I respond to emails, answer phone calls, check my voicemail, schedule appointments, and try to stay in moderate control of a moderately busy life. But at the dentist, I get a break. I don't have to answer a question or a phone. It's a place where I'm "out of pocket". My other favorite "out of pocket" time is when I'm behind the wheel - which brings me to the whole point of this article. Driving.

Driver's Ed 101
It seems that driver's education teaches new drivers how to pass a driver's test, but I'm not certain it teaches us how to drive. Think about it. During your driver's ed training did you learn how to successfully maneuver the vehicle through a spin out, how to fully prepare for an emergency stop, or what to do in the event your accelerator sticks? Probably not.

We learned the basics of driving-forward, reverse, brake, turn, parallel park- but there's a whole host of emergencies and hazards that can play out on the road, and we probably didn't learn how to handle them. So there we are, in the car, not completely trained to respond to an emergency, and what happens? We turn the ignition and then we turn on the cell phone. We, in this case is not me, because as you recall, I like the dentist and the drive time because I am "incommunicado" during these periods. So what better stage for a chain of events than three tons of steel in motion and a driver who's abilities aren't honed, and their attention is elsewhere (take your pick here because it's a smorgasboard: texting, talking, eating, shaving - seen that?)

My Proposal
Let the commute be your personal time to take a mental breath of fresh air. Step away from the busy-ness of your day and use the drive time to enjoy your own thoughts, or process some of the "business" of the day.
Take the opportunity to be "out of pocket, out of touch" for the duration of your commute. When else can you do that? And do you know what's most striking about the incommunicado aspect? You find out that the conversation can wait. It always could and it always will.

The new texting dictionary
TEXTGATING [tekst-geyt-ing] verb
To drive hazardously close to another car because your attention is on something other than driving
"Dang! I had to slam on my brakes to avoid hitting him because I was textgating.
TEXTIDENT [tek-sti-dent] noun
A collision caused by someone who's too busy with their phone to drive safely
"It wasn't an accident, it was a textident and now my car is totaled."
SNACKCIDENT [snak-si-dent] noun
A crunch, crack or smash caused by juggling fries, shakes, drinks and burgers while driving
"I went for the fry that fell on the floor and got into a snackcident.
SMERGE [smurj] verb
A lethal combination of swerving and merging while driving, usually caused by being distracted
"Dude you totally smerged back there and nearly killed us
SENDER BENDER [sen-der ben-der] noun
A collision caused by a text message being sent three seconds before impact
"Yeah, I feel stupid about getting into a sender bender."
FISHMAIL [fish-meyl] verb
To swerve or skid from side to side as while responding to an email while driving
"I was trying to email him back while going 60 down the highway and my car started to fishmail all over the place!"
SPINCIDENT [spin-si-dent] noun
An accident, fender bender or collision caused by fiddling obsessively with the radio or iPod for the perfect tune
"I was rocking out and channel surfing then BAM! I had a spincident."
DREXTER [drek-ster] noun
Someone who habitually drives and texts and who you would not want driving you around
"Psst! Get a ride with someone else. He's a drexter."
CRASH TEXT DUMMY [krash -tekst- duhm-ee] noun
Someone who is just asking for an accident by doing too many things behind the wheel
"Did you hear about Sam's accident? What a crash text dummy!" She's going to kill us!"