I narrowly escaped a nasty car accident this morning while taking my son to school. I drive a gigantic Toyota 4Runner, and it’s not easy to overlook. But the woman who came within inches of smashing into the passenger side of my vehicle, where my son was sitting and happily telling me about his new gig as a member of the fifth-grade safety patrol, wasn’t looking at me, my car, or even the road. Instead, she was staring deeply into a compact mirror and gazing, with some displeasure, at her own reflection.
I could easily turn this into a finger-wagging essay about the dangers of multitasking while driving—and I’d have plenty of horror stories to recount. Over the years, I’ve seen people reading books and newspapers, shaving, applying makeup, texting, hunting for something in the backseat, or even, as it appeared in one case, attempting to kill a bug with a paperback book, all while sailing down the highway at excesses of 70 mph.
But there was something about this particular instance—the woman so absorbed with her own face that she was missing all around her—that took me down an entirely different mental road.