Fast Times

Eating and Driving

While waiting at a stoplight the other day, I glanced over at the driver in the car next to me and was more than a bit surprised to see him eating sushi. With chopsticks. And, I'm guessing, with wasabi and soy sauce because he kept dipping the chopsticks into some unseen container. When the light changed, he popped one final piece of maki into his mouth, chewed vigorously, and sped off. I gaped, and the cars behind me honked. Serves me right for rubber-necking, I guess.

Some might admire this man's dexterity but all I could think was, What if someone hits him mid-bite and one of the chopsticks stabs him through the back of his throat and impales his brain? (No shit, I'm neurotic.) Obviously, this is the worst-case scenario. More likely is that he gets rice and fish and soy sauce all over himself and arrives at his destination looking like a jackass.


Still, I'm unconvinced driving and eating, especially when using utensils, is a particularly safe activity. Even those plastic sporks can be rather pointy. Hit a pothole and suddenly you're choking. Also, how enjoyable is it to change lanes while chomping on a sandwich? I'd rather take a 15-minute rest stop to enjoy my burger with two hands and not worry about spilling "special sauce" and/or side-swiping another motorist.

I recognize, however, that perhaps one of the pleasures of the Great American Roadtrip is noshing while cruising down some beautiful coastal highway. I can buy that scenario. But stuffing your face while trying to navigate inner loop traffic just boggles my mind.

Drinking (non-alcoholic) beverages and driving? Slightly more understandable and probably safer. Though I could still poke myself in the eye with a slurpee straw.

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Joanna O'Leary