An Open Letter to a Driver

Dear Guy in the green Ford Escort Wagon:

First, I will say thank you for your apology out the windshield when I arrived at the red light approximately 5 seconds after you. Of course, you were in the left turn lane and I was turning right so I was able to make a right turn on red while you had to sit there waiting for its cycle. That shouldn't strike me as some sort of sweet justice but somehow it always does. I am a work in progress - I'm hopeful God keeps forgiving me for my thoughts and feelings until I get it right.

Anyhow...this is more to let you know that if I hadn't seen you coming up on the circle in time to slow down as much as I did to let your little bullet-speed self whip in front of me, you would have t-boned my van on the passenger side. Often my van carries me and only me. Not that time, though. You would have plowed into both my husband and my 9 year old son. 9, sir. The boy is 9. Yes - I have side-impact airbags and they MIGHT have saved their lives but as fast as you were going? I doubt it. Metal traveling at highway speed impacting with medal rarely has positive results. How could you have possibly lived with yourself if you had, at the least, hurt my husband and son and at the most killed them?

Truly - I understand the need to rush to that red light. Red is such a pretty color and to bask in its glow for even a few seconds always puts a smile on my face, too. Perhaps it was a sincere desire to issue me a hands in the air apology. I don't know what it was but... honestly? I don't care. When I saw you coming, all I could really see (since you were traveling so fast you were nothing much more than a green blur) was my husband and son - bloody and mangled because you ignored your yield sign and gunned it into that circle. And the only thing that saved them, really, was God because while my brakes slowed us down, it was only because God turned my head in your direction as I was driving that I even saw you coming.

I'm tired of driving. I used to have this sincere love of cars. I have had my share of driving fast and doing some stupid things but I can honestly say that went above and beyond in the stupid department. We so desperately need - every single one of us needs - to remember that while our cars are definitely built safer, they're not indestructable. While we think we are good drivers - we are still imperfect humans, putting our trust in fallible machines. There are rules for driving and perhaps it would behoove us greatly if we'd refresh ourselves on just what those rules are. Oh...and for folks who don't know (and at the moment, I'm specifically thinking of you, sir - the guy in the green Ford Escort who jumped into the circle on Ash Way yesterday at about 9PM)? Yield means:

–verb (used with object)
1.to give forth or produce by a natural process or in return for cultivation: This farm yields enough fruit to meet all our needs.
2.to produce or furnish (payment, profit, or interest): a trust fund that yields ten percent interest annually; That investment will yield a handsome return.
3.to give up, as to superior power or authority: They yielded the fort to the enemy.
4.to give up or surrender (oneself): He yielded himself to temptation.
5.to give up or over; relinquish or resign: to yield the floor to the senator from Ohio.
6.to give as due or required: to yield obedience.
7.to cause; give rise to: The play yielded only one good laugh.

–verb (used without object)
8.to give a return, as for labor expended; produce; bear.
9.to surrender or submit, as to superior power: The rebels yielded after a week.
10.to give way to influence, entreaty, argument, or the like: Don't yield to their outrageous demands.
11.to give place or precedence (usually fol. by to): to yield to another; Will the senator from New York yield?
12.to give way to force, pressure, etc., so as to move, bend, collapse, or the like.

13.the act of yielding or producing.
14.something yielded.
15.the quantity or amount yielded.
16.Chemistry. the quantity of product formed by the interaction of two or more substances, generally expressed as a percentage of the quantity obtained to that theoretically obtainable.
17.the income produced by a financial investment, usually shown as a percentage of cost.
18.a measure of the destructive energy of a nuclear explosion, expressed in kilotons of the amount of TNT that would produce the same destruction.

Origin: bef. 900; (v.) ME y(i)elden, OE g(i)eldan to pay; c. G gelten to be worth, apply to; (n.) late ME, deriv. of the v.

I love my husband and I love my son. I would oh so prefer to keep them in my life, in one piece. Since I was in the circle, since you technically didn't really have enough time to enter it safely in front of me and there was that big "Yield" sign - you should have waited. You shouldn't have scared us half to death by stepping down on the gas and turning into that circle going so fast that your whole car shifted to the left and for a second looked like it was going to roll over. You should have slowed down and waited. Ended up behind me. For those few seconds until you arrived at that red light, it wouldn't have been so bad. I have pretty stickers on the back of my van - the view would have been quite lovely.

Instead, you have created a situation in which I thought things I most definitely should not think and used some words (in my head) I most definitely should not use. I do have to impart a bit of thanks, though. It helps me to see God IS doing a good work in me. The words stayed in my head - I didn't say them out loud, I arrived at laughter much faster over this than normal and when you flashed me your "apology," I accepted it - almost graciously. These are huge strides for a Jersey-born and raised girl who has spent most of her life with the motto "insult with words first, ask questions later." The road is almost the last frontier for me in getting that motto out of my system.

Of course...if I were to ever see you again (and I got a GOOD look at you at that red light), I may not be able to resist the urge to read you this letter in person. Then I might have to hold back a Gibbs-slap because, honey? No matter how you cut it, or how long it takes me to forgive you - your car is a lethal weapon on wheels and you need to respect that. We ALL need to respect that.

May you all have a blessed green Ford Escort-less day!

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