Sunday, May 20, 2007

Too stupid to live... literally?

On my way home from the grocery store this afternoon, I drove past a car that narrowly elected not to shoot out in front of me from a side street; a last-minute decision that probably made for a better afternoon for all concerned. As I passed the car, I caught sight of the driver... a young woman between 20 and 25, emoting rather passionately into a cell phone. I take a dim view of people who drive with their cell phones and think the practice should be banned, but this... this was beyond the beyond.

She pulled out behind me and kept pretty good pace with me. Just before the access to a local freeway, we had to stop at a light. I could see her in my rearview mirror; in fact, I could not take my eyes off of her. She was making a spectacle of herself in the literal sense of the word; phone held to her face with one hand and a cigarette poised between two fingers of the hand on the wheel (in other words, steering with three fingers total), she was shouting into the phone, her face visibly flushed. She sobbed constantly, violently gulping air; repeatedly threw her head back, moaning, thrashing. It had the air of 'girl learns boyfriend and best friend are shacked up, gets on phone to confirm, learns worst, hops in car to confront/threaten/plea/commit assault or homicide'. Terrific! Twenty years ago, these were three separate acts; now at least two (and thank God only two) of them are combined, and today teary-eyed angst is our co-pilot.

A better person than me, I guess, would have had more generous sensibilities like "that poor young woman, what's going on in her life?" And yes, I had that too. But the overriding concern I had was that this idiot was immediately behind me. I was thinking, "Please, don't let her crash into me. Don't let her crash into me. Don't let her crash into me..." Whatever pity I felt for her was drowned in my anger at her for endangering herself, me, and hundreds of others she was sharing the road with. More than anything, I wanted to use my (non-existent) telepathy to impress in her mind: What the fuck are you doing sitting behind the wheel of a car? You're in no state to be on the road. You're not even in a state to be on that phone right now! Go home, suck a bottle of gin, smoke your head off, and cry yourself into a tortured sleep. Wake up in the morning.

The last I saw of her, she was weaving down the onramp to the expressway. May she arrive in safety. And may all the people at the other end give her slap for being so stupid.

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