Sunday, December 28, 2008

Shiny red Jetta


I can only think that the two young men in the shiny red Volkswagen Jetta had somehow come under the delusion that life is a movie. I simply can't think of another explanation for their behaviour.

Stuffed full of turkey and fuller of family we headed home Christmas Day. Around nine p.m., late for us with the two little wees but early, one would think, for a full-on festival of inebriation.

Sitting at a t-shaped intersection waiting for the light to change we had our first encounter with the red Jetta. When it whipped through the intersection, careening wildly on the road, my assumption was that somehow the driver had misunderstood. Obviously, the new lights at this intersection had confused him; after all, at barely a year old it was in the realm of possibility that the driver, home for the holidays, simply was unaware until it was too late.

Of course this presupposes that he had completely disregarded the fact that it is typical to stop at intersections, and that if he had any familiarity at all with the road and the rules of such, he would have stopped for the stop sign that pre-dated the lights.

The car that had to veer off to the side must have been in shock, but as nothing bad happened my breathing barely changed and we moved on.

The street has the option to merge to the right onto another high speed road. As we approached the intersection the shiny red Jetta roared towards us off the merge in reverse. When I caught a glimpse of the driver as I quickly changed lanes and tried to anticipate the actions of an obvious lunatic, I was shocked by his blase demeanor. One hand casually on the wheel, the other on the back of the passenger seat, cigarette dangling from his lips and Santa hat perched on his head, that split second was enough to comprehend just how much this guy didn't care.

I'm sure that the music was turned up loud, the drinks liberally poured and quickly downed. And can't you just feel it? The callous disregard of youth, the feeling that life is endless and easy and that if you want to act like your actions have no affect on others, then hey, let's do it.

As that stupid little car raced past us all I could think of was that on this night, of all nights, please let there be a blanket of protection placed. For all the people making their way home and not home, immersed in family and friends and love, let them be safe. Safe from one who mustn't enjoy those things, or if he does, has no true understanding of what those things mean.

This is the guy who, standing amidst the carnage he wrought would weep and gnash his teeth. His misery palpable and his anguish audible.

This is also the guy who doesn't get that he is in control of whatever is making him so unhappy. I'm not the praying type, but I think he could use a little of whatever I've got.

I should end this now but it's been like poison in me, thinking about the little red car and how close we (others) came to - what? To death? To injury? I know, we come near and far from those things every day. Every moment, and know not.

But to see it, so clearly and in focus. To see it with the two most precious things in the world sitting in their winter jackets and toques, peering with their big beautiful eyes out the windows, asking about Santa and watching the new Tink movie. To think, that at that very moment, stupid little red Jetta could have obliterated all that is good in our life. If you could feel this, this lump in my chest that for whatever reason I haven't been able to massage down, the tears at the surface.

In our quiet city, where not much happens and that is a good thing, that we have to worry about this. In a city with no war no terror no politicking we have to remember that some guy might feel a little Down in the Dumps on Christmas Day and might feel the need to pretend that life is a cartoon and that actions have no consequences....

I repeat my mantra. I am grateful for what I have. I am grateful for my family. I am grateful. I am grateful. I am grateful.

3 comments:

lotusloq said...

I love the way you have expressed this. I'm so glad that you made it home safely. Moments like that remind us how precious the ones we love are. Then we can count our blessings.

I have been thinking about doing a blog about my 10 biggest pet peeves of other drivers. This would definitely make my list. Cavalier disregard of others.

Lady Glamis said...

This is beautiful. Thank you for sharing. We just got back from a three hour drive in a blizzard. I thank my blessings that we survived against the elements.

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