Indonesia’s Multitasking Motorists

JOGYAKARTA, Indonesia — Indonesians, The Economist recently revealed, send more text messages per capita than anyone else.

Just having witnessed motorbike drivers on the streets of Jakarta and Jogyakarta, I’d be inclined to agree.

That’s not even counting one moped passenger I saw texting with a mobile in each hand while his chauffeur weaved through gridlock. Or another driver hauling about six boxes of copier paper.

Nor does it take into account the two-wheelers I’ve seen chatting animatedly while one-handing the handlebars.

No, I’m talking about the scooter psychos and moped maniacs whose texting reflex appears to be triggered by braking.

The brake light turns on, that means the arm will soon swivel at the elbow. That’s where the phone appears.

Speeding along an arterial road when a metro mini bus in front of you stops to pick up passengers? Hey, what a great time to check where your friends are meeting for dinner!

Maybe I’m actually just jealous, since I gave up my Volswagen Golf months ago and switched to a pay-as-you go phone plan. No longer do I employ predictive texting on my numerical keypad while negotiating New York City traffic and dodging cabbies.

It’s somewhat of a shame, my finely honed skills going to waste. But at least I know I’d fit right in were I to move to Indonesia.

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