I’m the mother of the infant you almost ran over today in the parking lot. The mother who threw herself on top of the stroller as you came tearing into a parking space from the wrong direction while talking on your cell phone. The mother who picked herself up in disbelief and stared, mouth agape, at the purring engine no more than 18 inches from her baby. The mother who didn’t say a word as you slithered out of the parking space and waved an untroubled apology with one hand while you continued to talk on your phone with other. Remember me, now?
Good. Now saddle up, cowboy. You and I are going for a ride.
First of all, I think I read in Etiquette by Emily Post that when you almost commit vehicular manslaughter you should get out of the car and formally apologize to your victim(s). I’m pretty sure it’s in the same chapter as “Always Taste Everything Your Host Prepares for You” and “Don’t Date Your Sister.” Hey, I’m easy! I don’t even need a card. To be honest, just getting out of your car and exclaiming, “Holy cow, I am so sorry!” would have been enough. TIP: A simple gesture of kindness and concern for human life can do much to smooth the ruffled feathers. What can I say? It’s the little things.
Sure, apologizing to someone you almost killed can be awkward, you know, with the whole acknowledging responsibility thing. But, please, indulge me. If you don’t have the guts to own up to your egregious mistake and apologize, at least have the decency to put down that $300 phone and pretend my son’s life is more important than the shallow conversation that had your attention so decidedly transfixed. Tell Mary Sue you’ll have to get back to her on the intricacies of her crunchy California Roll order (hold the rice) because you almost killed a mother and child and you think that putting down the phone might convey a smidge of remorse.
You see, Black Lexus Guy, I talk on the phone while I drive more than I should. I should wear an ear piece, but I lost it over a year ago. Even worse, I haven’t made the time to buy a new one. I, too, have entered parking spaces from the opposite direction, especially in busy malls during lunch hour. Spaces are few and far between, and if you take the time to turn around and approach from the correct direction you will, most likely, lose the parking space. I am human, and I imagine I will continue to make mistakes in the future—even the easily avoidable ones. But I can not ever, ever, imagine almost hitting a child with my car without throwing myself at the mercy of the terrified parent. I believe this how you and I are different. Me = human. You = schmuck. Next time you nearly plow into an innocent victim, try being more human and less of a schmuck.
One last thing, Black Lexus Guy: nice glasses. They looked as expensive as your cell phone. You carry all the trappings of success, and you are, what, maybe 27 years old? I can only assume from your Lexus, iPhone, and Gucci sunglasses that you are making up for a minuscule member, if you catch my drift. Good luck with that.
Thursday, December 13, 2007