Tuesday, October 07, 2008

A Plea from an Innocent Driver

Dear Mr. Scarey Man,

Today I fell in behind your large, shiny blue truck. I noticed you were having difficulty staying within your lanes, and I wondered if you were ill. Until I realized you were in the middle of a very dangerous game of chicken with a bulky carpet van.

I let my speed slow as much as I dared to do given the traffic behind me and the fact that we were on a 65 mph highway. 

When you violently pulled your truck alongside the carpet van; when I saw you lean across the passenger seat and raise your hand in the shape of a gun; when I saw you pretend to shoot the driver of the van, I actually began to feel afraid.

I am not a violent person. I suffer from some post trautic stress because of a very violent childhood. Once, I was pulled from a car by the jaws of life, only narrowly escaping death itself. Though I wouldn't say I scare easily, perhaps I am more sensitive to threatening situations than others.

But in that moment, I seriously began to wonder if I was witnessing something more than your average episode of road rage. 

I've had my share of honks or birds flipped in my direction. I've certainly seen it happen around me often enough. All of us make careless mistakes from time to time. I'm sure most of us do not intend any offense by our actions. 

However, today, what I saw you do, how I saw you behave, made me think that it was very possible something terrible was going to happen. 

After you pretended to shoot the guy driving the van, you drove in front of him and slowed down so hard that he was forced to hit the brakes too. Though I was following a safe distance behind his van, his sudden action caused a reaction in me. The car behind me was not following so safely and had to veer off the road in order to avoid rear ending me. 

Now, sir, I'm sure you could not have known this, but I had two young boys in the backseat with me. Your actions almost caused them their lives.

I thought that was the worst of it. But just moments later, the van either forced you off the road, or you were trying to share the same lane as him (I'm honestly not sure which, and I'm not trying to judge), because you went flying into the small island that separated the southbound ramp from the northbound. I took the northbound, but when your truck flew onto the sandy island and coughed up so much dirt and debris that for a moment it obscured my vision entirely, I hoped you would have enough sense not to take your anger out on me.

Please, I prayed, let us pass.

Thankfully, your intent was entirely on the carpet van. But to what purpose? I have no idea what happened between the two of you that caused you to become so very upset. However, I do know that your behavior, and yours alone (because the van's drive appeared to be driving perfectly normally with the exception of his required responses to your behavior), put my family in jeapardy.

I was an innocent driver on that road today, sir. And my children were innocent passengers. We did our best to avoid close proximity to you in your moment of frustration and anger, but despite that we came perilously close. Your driving may have cost us our lives. The fact that it didn't is, in my opinion, no excuse.

I would ask you to consider others as you use the roadways. Even if one person offends you, please don't let your anger cloud your good judgement. For, even though you had a Calvin sticker on your van, showing the plucky youngster peeing on the ground (and gosh, but that's just so cute and classy) I'm sure you don't really want to piss on others around you. I'm sure you want to be treated decently, just as I expect to be.

So next time someone offends you while you're behind the wheel of your car, please remember the rest of us, us innocent drivers, who share the road with you. 


An Innocent Driver