DEAR ABBY: My daughter insists that she's a "multitasker" — too busy to telephone or text except when she's driving. It scares me to be in the passenger seat while she's talking on the phone or picking up toys the baby has dropped from his car seat.
I told her I won't talk to her while she's driving because I don't want to be a party to an accident she might be involved in, so she has stopped calling me altogether.
Don't these self-described multitaskers realize they are operating machines that can kill them or others while they shift their focus from the road? A man recently died in a head-on car crash as he crossed the interstate line. When the emergency vehicles arrived, his laptop was still running. What else can I say to my daughter when she doesn't "want to hear about it"?
— TERRIFIED MAMA IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR TERRIFIED: The statistics I have read indicate that drivers using cell phones have the same risk of being involved in an accident as people who have been drinking. It is sad that your daughter is so overscheduled that she feels she must do two things at once.
However, until your daughter is ready to sharpen her maternal instincts, grow up and stop being defensive, there is nothing you or anyone can say that will cut through the static. I am truly sorry.
DEAR ABBY: My twin sister, "Karina," and I will be seniors this year, and we're starting to look at colleges. It has always been "assumed" that Karina and I would attend the same college and be roommates. However, I think it's time for some separation. We're very close, and I would like us to attend the same college, but I think we should consider having different roommates.
Karina is hurt and upset that I don't want to continue sharing a room with her, pointing out that we've been "roommates" our entire lives and get along well, so why argue with success?
It has nothing to do with her. I just think it would be easier to expand our horizons if we're not just known as "the twins." We would still see each other often, and if things don't work out perhaps we can be roomies the following year.
My mother is shocked and thinks there's something wrong between us. I would appreciate another opinion.
— THE OTHER TWIN
DEAR TWIN: Have a private talk with your mother and explain that as much as you love your sister, the time has come for both of you to explore your individuality. While the concept may be foreign to her, what you are contemplating would be a healthy opportunity for both of you. As the daughter of an identical twin, I can assure you that some degree of separation will be healthy and give you both a chance to grow.
DEAR ABBY: I am not ugly, but I am very unphotogenic. I take terrible pictures. At family weddings, I know photos are necessary and I cooperate. But the rest of the time I do not want to be photographed. Isn't this my right?
How can I, without offending anyone, prevent people from taking my picture? And am I the only person who feels this way?
— NO PICTURES, PLEASE, KANSAS CITY, MO.
DEAR NO PICTURES, PLEASE: No, you aren't — and people who know you and care about your feelings should respect them and not insist. If the shooter is a stranger or a casual acquaintance, all you need to say is, "I prefer not to be photographed." And if you are pressed, say you're in the Witness Protection Program.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.