Because Now It's Cool To Look Like You're Talking to Yourself
The Bluetooth has its good and bad side. For instance, sometimes I'm walking down the street, watching another person approaching quietly, calmly. Maybe, I think to myself, they're watching the cars drive by, or perhaps they're pondering the complexities of life. I throw them a polite smile as I'm getting ready to pass them by, and I see the corners of their mouth turn up as well, anticipating their smile in return. Instead, loud cackling explodes into the air, followed by, "No, Bill! Yes, she dropped it off on Tuesday...[rambling]."
The Bluetooth, of course. The sneaky little monster that rides the ear of so many Californians. I'm sure the hands-free convenience has saved many lives, granting drivers full capability to use both precious hands. Though, even as I write this now, glancing out the window at my work, I can observe two separate drivers talking on their cell phones and not using a Bluetooth.
Since I work at a Starbucks, if I turn around, I see four of the seven people waiting in line sporting a Bluetooth as well. Another amazing feature of the Bluetooth is that it also allows you to order your daily cup of coffee hands-free. This way you have both hands available to search for change in the black hole that some call a purse.
Or, better, cause massive confusion at the counter by ordering in intervals between your ridiculously important conversation, backing up a line already containing more than 20 people. In turn, they opt to let out all the frustration in their lives.
You will, however, avoid the annoyance of looking completely ridiculous because you have the discreteness of a Bluetooth. Unless, of course, someone realizes that you keep barking commands for a cheese Danish in response to the Starbucks employees inquiry for an order's name.
There honestly is a valid reason for the Bluetooth, despite drawbacks one may experience on the Starbucks end. For instance, from 2002 to 2004, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety conducted surveys in hospitals and found that drivers on cell phones were four times more likely to be involved in an accident causing serious injury. According to the state website for driving laws, the governor said, "The simple fact is, it's dangerous to talk on your cell-phone while driving...So getting people's hands off their phones and onto their steering wheels is going to make a big difference in road safety."
And Schwarzenegger is right. It is dangerous to talk on the cell phone while driving. I know if I do it, I'm still capable of driving. But if the conversation I'm having interests me too much, suddenly that speeding SUV cutting through traffic to get to their destination five seconds quicker surprises me a lot more when it almost takes off the front end of my car - all because I was talking on my cell phone.
However, I'm just as distracted with a Bluetooth as I am without one. I do believe both hands should be free while driving, but the impact of the Bluetooth law seems to be minimal. I still see drivers on their hand-occupying phones, and the ones on their Bluetooths aren't necessarily less dangerous.