How’s My Driving?


When I was a kid, there were a fair number of days when I stomped into my green-shag-carpeted room (in as much as stomping is possible on what basically amounted to a wool lawn) vowing that, “They’ll be sorry someday.”

The “they” was usually my parents or older brother, and I imagined that “someday” would mean, say, Thursday, and not twenty years hence, so I could be sure that the certain forthcoming consequences were a direct result of my wrath.

As a child with no access to nuclear gadgetry, large sums of cash, or an invisible jet (all necessary to combating injustice), the literal imposition of my revenge was difficult to effect.

Even at the age of seven though, I sensed that moral revenge – the inducing of massive regret in the offending parties – would last longer. Tearing off the lower leg of my brother’s Boba Fett action figure had only made Boba look more bad ass, but if I could make my brother sorry, make him see how deeply and permanently wounded I was by his Lego hoarding, then I could look forward to a lifetime of conciliation, apology and handed-over baked goodies.

For the record, inducing regret in a nine-year-old boy is well nigh impossible.

Sometimes, when I’m worn down, I still hear that child’s righteous voice in the back of my head, wishing that guilt would sweep over my oppressors du jour, swamping them with too-late understanding, like the Red Sea closing over Moses’ pursuers. (It’s possible I may have spent too much time in Sunday school when I was young and impressionable.)

But here’s the fact of it: most people just don’t think about other people that much. That’s why the spontaneous regret induction plan doesn’t work. It’s not that you’re not hurt enough or they’re bad people. They’re just not looking in your direction at all. Most personal crimes are crimes of inattention, not intention. Their eyes are on their road – in front of and behind them – as yours are on yours, so swerving into other people’s lanes when roads intersect is all but inevitable.

What to do? As I see it, there are two options: alert the other driver to the accident their swerving’s caused on your side of the road (which might or might not result in a straightening out but will at least mean you’ve attended to the wreckage blocking your path and you can drive on), or locate the keys to your invisible jet.

Of course, I really wish everyone were like my nearest and dearest and attentively checking their side mirrors, but that’s just not how the cookie crumbles. Stupid cookie.

Anyone seen my keys?


Categories: News, Nuisance, Miscellany


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