I’ve written before about acquiring my father’s knack for memorizing all the hospital’s phone numbers (due to getting paged so many times).
He has another skill which it might have been healthier not to acquire.
When driving in the car, in addition to his penchant for passing with really minimal leeway, he also likes to dial his cell phone . . . while turning corners, and sometimes while passing. My father’s passengers quickly adopt a fatalistic mindset. He’s had remarkably few accidents, for all this.
Now I also am an expert at palming my beeper one-handed, reading it, and dialing my cell phone while driving. I really ought to stop. . . but the reflex to answer the page quickly and make sure it’s not something serious is simply too strong to overcome.
(My interns are paying me back in full for some heartburn I know I must have given my seniors last year. Episodes of “why, why did they have to do/not do that?” And I know, even if I can’t remember precisely the occasion, that I did things equally foolish or foolhardy myself. The really humbling part is, I foresee that next year I’ll look at the second years, and say the same thing. . . which I means I’m continuing to do lots of stupid things now, even when no one says so. . . )