Sunday afternoon my wife and I got a weird lesson in the blatant stupidity of drivers.
I am sure most pedestrians in this town have realized the deadly ambivalence too many drivers exhibit to us as we walk across intersections or in parking lots.
People will rush the green and never glance to see if someone is crossing. They pull out suddenly from a parking space not caring if a child is calmly walking by.
These drivers don't realize they are in control (nominally) of at least 3,000 pounds of steel. Most, when warned with a shout or pat on the bumper will at least stop.
On the odd occasion when I lose someone in my blind spot, they will slap the trunk of my car as I am slowly pulling out. I am always ready to react to the sudden emergence of a pedestrian.
If caught too close for comfort, I always extend an apology. It was my fault. It is always the fault of the driver. A driver must ALWAYS be aware of the environs when handling a car.
Sunday, my wife and I ran across someone not only unaware, but apathetic of the consequences.
Walking out of Wal-Mart, we noticed a woman preparing to back out of her space. She saw us. She just didn't care.
She backed out, still looking through us, making us jump quickly around her car. She didn't notice us at all until I commented on her apathy as she drove past.
"Mooooo." is what I said.
She stopped, finally noticing that others existed in her world.
Her head poked out and she had the temerity to challenge us on the
righteousness of referring to her as a bovine creature.
We calmly but succinctly explained to her our alarm at her casual disregard for the safety of others when she propelled her vehicle, which was one of those
mid-seventies GM jobs. (you know, 5,000 pounds, all steel, two-door,
engine occupies the whole front half. Big and lethal.)
She then began to rant. That is the mildest way to put it. She began to scream about her service in the "Public Sector." She began to yell about her handicap. She even jumped out of her car and threatened to thrash me.
My wife and I were agog. This woman was just about foaming, not the kind of person that should be behind the wheel of anything larger than an Austin Mini-cooper.
She wailed and threatened and we once again reiterated, for her understanding that she could have hurt or killed someone, and if indeed she had injured anyone she would hear a lot more than "mooo" for the next 10 years.
She was angry that we'd called her a cow, then later a jerk when she continued to descend the ladder of stupidity. She said it didn't matter what she did or who she did it to, she was a veteran, she had been a Gov't Worker, her husband was a cop.
At about that time, as my wife and I were wandering through the lot, the woman following us in her car, I was getting ready to have a Wal-Mart employee dial 911.
This was not normal behavior from a civilized being. She threatened to have her husband - Whom she kept reminding us, was a sheriff -"teach us some manners."
The threat didn't scare us as no proper officer of the law would allow himself to be the personal bully for his dim-bulb wife, and if somehow he did, he'd be risking his career for a dubious cause.
As we approached our car we just let her know she'd graduated from jerk to psychotic twit.
We told her to think about the circumstances behind her actions and to try and learn from her mistakes.
She had been chasing us with her car though the parking lot, and we reminded her that she could have been home long ago.
We let her know our patience was wearing thin and we'd have to report her disturbing behavior to the police if she didn't calm down and go her own way.
As we loaded our car we noticed she was jotting down our license plate number.
My wife offered to read it to her. The woman stated again she'd have her husband after us for harassing her, which was laughable, considering how she followed us in her car, shouted inanities at us, threatened our physical health and nearly ran us down in her car. I started our car and watched her disappear.
As I carefully pulled out of my space and prepared to move into traffic, I thought aloud to my wife, "You know, Honey, she's just one of many out there."
This letter is not to the woman in the car that Sunday. She proved her criminal negligence beyond any reasonable doubt.
This letter is to those of you out there who can listen. This holiday season, behave like pedestrians are not targets.
A moment's neglect could cost a life, your fortune and your happiness. A car is a weapon, behave.