When I cross the street I always try to make eye contact with the drivers of oncoming cars. With alarming frequency, those drivers are talking on the phone or contemplating their navels (texting). And, even when they are not distracted by a phone, I am extra cautious crossing in front of cars with Mexico City license plates.

Today, when I boarded a city bus, I had my fare in hand: two pesos, two pesos, and a single. The bus driver was completely absorbed in Facebook on his cell phone, so I dropped only two pesos in his hand, thinking that might break his concentration. He tossed the coin in the cash box and never for a millisecond took his eyes off his phone. I hoped the driver was only thus occupied while the bus was stopped. He continued, however, with both thumbs on the phone, and obviously, his eyes also while driving through city traffic.

I started out to write here that if the bus company wanted its three pesos, they could come and get them, but I decided that cheating on a fare is wrong and possibly illegal, even when the bus driver is a digitally addicted moron. So, I flagged down another bus and told the driver I had been short earlier. This driver was polite and alert, but I could not help but notice that when I dropped three pesos in his right hand, in his left he was holding a cell phone.

It has not escaped my attention that all of a sudden every motorcycle rider in San Miguel is now wearing a helmet. The authorities have proven they are able to enforce the law when they want to do so, and I hope they will see fit to address the much more dangerous situation of drivers distracted by cell phone use while driving.


Charles Baxter Miller


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