Delicate Things

Every morning on my way to work, I come to a three-way intersection. At the stop sign, I make a slight right turn — almost no one goes left. To my left is another stop sign, and the vehicles that reach it go straight — almost no one goes right there. Straight ahead of the stop sign to my left is a two-way road with no stop sign — cars can go either left or right. Some are kind enough to signal; others aren't. Can you picture it? It's a triangle.

This morning, I reached my stop sign. Cars to my right can go in either direction — left or right — and it won't affect my right turn at all. I stop at the stop sign, notice a car is coming toward me and heading to its left. I prepare to pull out. But apparently, the driver of the truck that was stopped at the stop sign to my left decided that he couldn't possibly let himself get stuck behind my Jeep, and pulled out onto the road, cutting me off, and cutting off the driver trying to make his left turn, which was his right of way.

This happens pretty much every damn day: Someone makes a heinously dangerous maneuver in a busy intersection because he or she doesn't think he or she needs to follow the same road rules as the rest of us, or because he/she fancies him/herself more important than the rest of us drivers, and because he/she cares more about getting somewhere one car length faster than he/she does about not being a complete and total asshole on the road and endangering other drivers.

I'm really sick of it.

Yesterday, I found out that someone I know died of pancreatic cancer. I haven't seen her in a few years, but she used to work with my mom and I worked in the office here and there as well. Her brother was my math teacher for three years. Her niece and nephews were classmates of my brother's and mine. She was someone everyone in town knew, and to know her was to adore her. She was funny, kind, generous, and sweet. She got a much worse lot in life than she deserved. She died younger than she should have, and I can only begin the imagine the gaping hole her loss leaves in the hearts of her loved ones. She was a very special, one-of-a-kind person, whom I regret not connecting with more in the past few years.

Do these points seem unrelated? Probably. They probably are. But with my mind on Judy this morning, and the knowledge that car accidents caused more than 32,000 deaths in 2013 alone, I was absolutely furious with the carelessness of this driver who cut off two cars to shave less than five seconds off his travel time. With slower reflexes, I would have found myself in a car accident this morning. Probably not a fatal one, but an accident nonetheless. Would it have been worth it for this driver, I wonder?

No. The answer is no.

Actions have consequences, and life is fragile. It tends to take a calamity of some sort to remind people of that, unfortunately. But I think if we just tuck that knowledge in our minds — that actions have consequences, and life is fragile — and try not to lose sight of it, even when we're trying to make the light on the morning commute, we'll be better off.

Actions have consequences, and life is fragile.

Comments

  1. I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your friend- you can tell the huge impact she made just on what little you wrote about her here. I hate driving in general, but I can relate to how you feel so, so much. I get so angry when I see people texting and driving even in bad weather, horrible stop and go traffic, etc. I don't understand how other people can't understand how dangerous their choices are-- just like stopping (or not stopping) at an intersection, it just takes a quick second for an accident- life really is so fragile. <3

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  2. I'm so so sorry for your loss - no matter if you've been in touch recently some people just make an impression that you'll never forget, and that's beautiful! Impatient and aggressive drivers are a huge pet peeve of mine too. Everyone has somewhere to be, not just them!

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  3. I am so sorry about your mom's friend :( she sounds like an amazing person, and whether you have been in contact or not, it's still hard to lose someone.
    you know I love KC, but seriously.. sometimes he drives like a maniac. ok, not a maniac but a maniac compared to me. he wouldn't have been that idiot that cut the 2 cars off, but he does drive fast and swerves in and out of traffic - like even this morning, it was snowing and we were behind a car going slowly and he eventually got around her, and we went through a light and she didn't make it, he said 'i would have been stuck at that light!' and i was like.. trying to communicate to him that why does it matter? he hates 'wasting his life' in the car, that's 3 or 4 minutes he could be doing something else - obviously he likes being in the car with me, but you know what i mean. i say to him, why is your time more important than anyone elses? he says it isnt, but that woman and her stupidity took those minutes off my life. He isn't rude and doing it to normal people, he just gets aggravated with the idiots. I tell him, I would be that idiot. Snow scares me and yes I would be driving slower, hence why he drives me when he has snow days. I honestly think he drives the way he does because he has never had an accident - not that I want him to, but I feel like he missed the step where we all mature a little bit because we've been scared after an accident. I wish I could articulate to him why it matters to me that he drives a little slower, or doesn't sit so close to the person in front. I know he is a good driver, but seriously.. it doesn't help so why do it? All that happens is that you (as the driver) get mad, and it has the potential to ruin your day. He's gotten better, but whenever he gets mad when he drives because of someone stupid, I try and say 'they can't hear you. but I can'. I'm not trying to be a bitch, I'm just trying to ask him to calm down, think about it. unless i was pregnant or dying, those 3 or 4 minutes don't matter. it doesn't matter if you are a little late to work, or dinner - leave earlier. there will always be idiots on the road and yelling at them, getting around them, getting mad about it - doesn't fix anything. just slow down, you know? why give them power over your day?
    anyway, longest freaking comment ever. it makes me sad when people do dangerous, selfish things. you are so right - actions have consequences, and life is fragile

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  4. I am so sorry to hear for your loss. I hate hearing about people that die at a younger age from things like cancer. It is the saddest thing.

    In another note, people's driving enrages me so bad. I am so sick of people thinking they don't have to follow the rules that everyone else does. I am sick of people cutting me off, riding my ass, not looking where they are going, drinking and driving, texting when they cant multitask, not paying attention when the light turns green, blowing through red lights, ahhhhh it just pisses me off so bad! If everyone just calms down and pays attention and stops acting like an asshole, we can all get where we are going in plenty of time.

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  5. I'm so sorry for your loss Alyssa!! People are truly inconsiderate and don't realize that their hopes of getting somewhere 5 minutes faster can end up horrendous for others following the laws and rules!! xo, Biana

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  6. I think about this all the time when I see people texting and driving. It's honestly terrifying the decisions that we are allowed to make in the car than can and do easily affect so many people's lives (and, in way more cases than there should be, end people's lives). Nothing makes me lose faith in humanity more than driving and being in traffic. Something about being on the road makes people lose all sense of looking out for one another and brings out the most selfish side of people.
    I'm so sorry for your loss :(

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  7. bad drivers are the most infuriating, reckless characters around. Do they not realize they are operating heavy machinery that could seriously injure themselves and others? sigh. I definitely have become way more cautious of a driver as I've gotten older.

    beautiful post. very sorry for your loss.

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  8. I completely understand about the bad / crazy drivers. My nana taught me that I can't leave late and then expect everybody else to get out of my way. So, I'm often just late because I'm not going to take my lateness out on the drivers around me. It's not *their* fault that I'm running behind. It's just the rudest thing. And you're totally right - they're risking peoples' lives! Sorry for your loss. Thinking of you and your mom and the others who lost of a friend and loved one.

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  9. Oh girl I love how you wrote this. Everything in life is connected and I noticed the connection straight away when you mentioned her passing. Possibly because of my own loss which caused me to look at things so differently. Ill admit I have road rage and I drive faster than I should. I am not dangerous but I do take risks on the road. Or I did... a lot more before. Now I think, why do this? This post really hit home because I find that some people just dont value life, not just their own but others. So many would love to have the breath that they are so careless with.

    And then I left a comment the size of a book on your page. I always do this! But you always speak to me when you write. Your fault! :)

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  10. That triangle intersection sounds like it can be pretty dangerous. We have a road in our town that is pretty dangerous due to it's many dips, curves, and no passing zones. In the past few years there have been so many deaths because of people carelessly passing other cars with no regards to oncoming traffic, and it is always the innocent driver who winds up getting killed. I can't help but wonder how many people need to lose their life before others realize that passing in a no-pass zone is an extremely stupid idea. It saddens me to no end how careless people can be just so they can get somewhere five seconds sooner.

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