Friday, April 27, 2007

Driving is best left to the grown ups.





This is my unsolicited public service announcement of the month. Warning, rant ensues.

Parents: As precious as you think your adorable teenager is, as deserving as they may seem, as many times as their sorry self has made the honor roll at school, the don't need to be driving your brand-new, spanking, black four-door volvo. The don't need to be driving any car for that matter. And they do not need to be driving the car while talking on a cell phone. And they REALLY do not need to be driving it straight into my trusty, old minivan while I am behind the wheel minding my own business. You may insist that your precious teenager is the soul of responsibility and maturity. But when they crash your lovely car head first into mine and don't have the decency to even apologize, their cuteness factor is basically nil in my book.

Shall I elaborate?

On April 24th, I found myself sitting behind the wheel of my minivan waiting for a red light to change. All I had on my mind was my grocery list, how to cope with the sorry state of produce at the local Shop Rite, and the reaction I expected when I served Little Monkey a helping of manicotti for dinner that night. I did not expect to be the victim of a head on collision. Funny how these things happen.

She came barrelling down the road, taking a right turn at a speed that would make cab drivers nervous, talking on her cell phone the whole time. Her head faced in a direction opposite the road she was turning on, but her cell phone remained balanced perfectly in her hand. Oblivious to me honking my horn in desperation, she cut her turn too wide. It happened so fast, and yet so painfully slow. She crashed head first into my car. My poor silver mini-van, still waiting patiently for the light to turn green.

If only that light had turned green a minute sooner. I would have been wandering the aisles of Shop Rite cursing under my breath at the sorry state of produce, at the wilted lettuce and brown peppers. Instead, I found myself cursing loudly at the most over-privileged snotty, teenager I had the misfortune to encounter. The following dialogue has been edited to preserve the generally family-friendly nature of this blog.

me: YOU STUPID, STUPID LITTLE GIRL! HOW COULD YOU BE SO F-ING STUPID? YOU CRASHED INTO MY CAR AT A RED LIGHT! YOU WERE ON YOUR CELL PHONE! I SAW YOU TALKING ON YOUR CELL PHONE WHILE YOU WERE DRIVING! DIDN'T YOU HEAR ME HONKING AT YOU??!? YOU TURNED TOO WIDE! YOU CRASHED INTO MY CAR!!

teeny-bopper: OHMIGOD!! Like, what are you so upset about?? Calm down! We have insurance!!

me: I'm really glad your mommy and daddy have insurance, but that doesn't matter!@! Look at what you've done to my car! You crashed into my car while I was stopped at a light!!

And so on.

There are a few precious readers of this blog who personally are familiar with my temper. They know what my temper is capable of when my poor, innocent car gets slammed. (Shout out, Riz!) In general, it's something I keep buried deep in the recesses of my dark soul, hidden from polite society. But, like Bruce Banner, sometimes I Hulk out. It's ugly.

This stupid, snotty, pointy-faced little girl seemed unaware of the fact that I was shaking with anger. She was rambling on and on, demanding to see proof of my identity because she "had been in situations like this before and I need to see your papers."

She didn't seem to realize that I was doing everything in my power not to take my hand, ball it into a fist, and smash it into her protuding nose. I reigned myself in somehow, walked to the sidewalk and called the police.

I have spent the remainder of this week dealing with various insurance types, trying to obtain a copy of the accident report to validate my innocence, and occasionally I pause long enough to remind myself that I was lucky not be hurt. I was lucky that the monkeys were home. Etc.

Look, I was once a snotty-nosed, over-privileged teenybopper myself. I once drove a car I had no business driving, on roads with civilized human beings who did not deserve the insult of my driving alongside them. I possessed an unhealthy sense of entitlement and thought I knew everything too. Lord knows I put my parents through their share of grief and anxiety. But I knew when I was wrong. I knew how to apologize. I did not think the world owed me anything.

I'm still mad. And I have officially hit fuddy-duddy middle aged-ness because I believe teenagers don't belong behind the wheels of a car. They should just park their sorry behinds on the seat of the big yellow bus like all the rest of the kiddlywinks.

The end.
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