I Watch YouTube While I Drive, and I Don’t Feel Bad About it.
In recent days, I find my recent guilty pleasure not to be so guilty. It’s strange, for a person like me. I’m the kind of person that places such high value not only on courtesy, but safety and common sense. I also have a conscious that stretches and bleeds into all my actions. I can’t even enjoy a smoke without thinking with every breath “I really shouldn’t be doing this”. Yet and still, I have a new vice that brings me so much joy that I can’t even feel bad about it, so much so that I want to shout it from the rooftops. This sizzling sensation comes from watching video’s while I drive.
Ever since I got a windshield mount for my phone, I’ve learned that I can see the road and also completely watch a show, movie, or interview at the exact same time. My eye balls include the screen into my road scan pattern, and I can watch band interviews, behind the scenes footage, and other shorts while I drive inevitably to a place where I won’t have the luxury to do such things. My trips have become delightful, enjoyable nuggets of escapism where I am not only isolated from the prying eyes and ears of judgmental spouses and nosey kids, but able to listen without other external stimulus that might otherwise detract from the experience.
Now sure, one could argue that while driving a 3,000lb vehicle while simultaneously avoiding other 3,000lb vehicles and the occasional bicyclist or wandering pedestrian, that I am not free of external stimulus. But you would be wrong. When was the last time you actually paid close attention to your last commute? I mean, really focused on the drive. When I first got my license, I remember absorbing every bit of visual and auditory stimuli.
My windows were down, I could hear cars coming specifically, brakes, people talking, dogs barking. I could hear flowers growing and leaves blowing towards my path. I could smell a sugar addled child’s red latex balloon from 600 yards away and chart his placement in relation to my vehicle. I knew the makes and models of the 3 cars in front of me, behind me, and the car merging in from the right. Now, I just drive slow enough to not run over someone’s throat if they trip into the street.
Initially, I was shocked at my apathy towards what I was doing, much like you might be if you’re reading this. I don’t text in drive. It’s dangerous. Ever since we’ve moved to touch screens over analogue buttons, I’ve been unable to produce text messages without looking. I definitely don’t drink and drive. And even though I drive a WRX, I don’t speed without my absolute full attention, ten and two on the wheel, windows down, music off, visibility, and knowledge of the road. So you can imagine my own dismay as I accidentally pressed the YouTube icon while setting up the GPS on my phone.
At first, I was pleased to see I could listen to YouTube with the screen off. “Interesting”, I thought to myself, “I can listen to lectures and interviews now”. But then I realized, there it is, hands free and unobtrusive. I turned on the screen and watched as I drove. My trip was so pleasant and enjoyable I didn’t want to get out of my car at my location. I didn’t run over anyone’s throat or pet. I could still see the road and monitor traffic while I watched a TedxTalks about how to recycle your food into meals. I’ll never do that or require that knowledge, but I enjoyed learning while I drove, and the simulation of watching TV while in a car made me feel what it must be like to have a chauffeur.
I had to resist the urge to bring a glass of wine into the car and subconsciously call myself Benson as I drove.
The pleasantry of letting my eyes and general function control the vehicle, while my mind was stimulated by a playlist of overwrought Taylor Swift covers by teenagers who sit way too close to the camera and rock to and fro too much to maintain proper strum technique.
I might not ever know what it feels like to be a boss, or to have a dedicated driver to cart me around my yuppie life and refer to me as, Sir. Yet, in this new hobbie of mine, I have caught a glimpse of the “Super Fine”. I have gleaned just enough luxury to bring me a little pleasure during my commutes, and while I have everyones safety in mind, I will continue to enjoy this small slice of life chocolate. Traffic statistics be damned.