The Other Side

31/Jan/2007

When I was 13 years old, I remember my mother standing with her hands on her hips looking at me with a combination of fear and anger. We’d been having another argument over something (I honestly can’t remember what) and as she got more and more angry, I watched her face turn red, then magenta, and finally flames started to boil out of her ears. “I’ll see you on the other side!” she yelled and walked off.

I was baffled.

I made it to the other side some time in college. I grew out of the teenage angst and in to the “much more mature” early 20’s angst. I progressed through my twenties, got married, had a baby, and realized exactly what my mother was talking about. And just yesterday, as I slammed on my breaks to avoid a horrific accident, I realized I am not only on “the other side” but I’m a few cusswords shy of yelling it out the window to some teenage punks that could’ve killed us.

I also have a clear vision of me saying those exact words to my teenage daughter in about 10 years. A very, vivid, realistic image of that same day. I’m on the other side now.

Yesterday LB and I were on our way home from a wonderful playdate. We sat at the red light exiting off the freeway just a mile or so from our very tiny house. LB was singing Twinkle Twinkle (it’s all the rage) and I was talking to her in the rear view mirror. I looked up and saw the light turn green. I put the car in gear (note that the cars are stopped on the other side of the street at the red light as we pull out) and glance to the left just as a white sadan comes toward us at least 55 mile an hour. I slam on the breaks, the car rubs and ricochets off the front bumper and speeds away. I glance two teenagers in the front of that car probably oblivious that they just blew through a red light and could’ve very possibly, one second later, killed or seriously injured a pregnant lady and her toddler. (Illustrated for you visual types.)

I alternate between breaking down in to tears and cussing wildly at all teenage drivers when I think what could’ve happened.

I’m trying not to think about what could’ve happened.

Had I put the car in gear as I sat there, had I not been talking to LB, had I gone the second the light turned green, we would be in the hospital, at the very least, right now. CB could be gone. LB could be seriously injured or dead.

It was one of those moments where you don’t even have time to see life flash before you. I didn’t break down crying until about two blocks later when I finally pulled over to check my car for damage. I lost it and took LB home and didn’t leave the house the rest of the day.

These are the types of encounters that make mothers seem like complete spazes to their teenage daughters. These are the reason moms get so damn paranoid, get so angry when you don’t wear your seat-belt, yell as you walk out the door to be safe and watch for other cars. I’ll be the first person setting out “SLOW DOWN” signs in our neighborhood now. You know, those very uncool people that would yell at you, the teenager without a care in the world, to pay attention and drive slower? That’ll be me. I’ll be the one sitting in my rocker on my front porch telling the entire world to just knock-it-the-fuck-off and start paying attention.

Life is too short to be caught up in your own shit. You never know who you could potentially be hurting. Please pay attention. And for the love of god, look both ways before going through a green light. Always.

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Comments

  1. I am glad you are okay.  There are so many people around here who run red lights (or stop signs), that I always look before I go… even so, it’s very scary.  It’s aggravating that people are so concerned with themselves and that minute or so (or less) they will gain that they disregard the very lives of those around them.  For us I know it’s just a matter of when, not if, we’ll get in an accident and that just makes me SO MAD.  You can only do so much to avoid the idiots out there…  and there are so many of them out there.  Again, I am really glad you are okay.  It’s aggravating that those stupid teenagers probably have no clue as to what they did.  Is there any way to get all stupid people banned from driving?  It’s not all teenagers, either, unfortunately.  Some old gal we saw the other day was driving like an idiot and putting on her lipstick while looking in her mirror.  Sheesh.

    By Holly on 2007 01 31

  2. Oh wow!  Glad that you guys made it out of that predicament.  I really don’t like other drivers.  I thought everyone had to go through the same defensive driving class….NO?...they just get their license after 1 good test?....yeah, some people should not be allowed on the road.  enough said!

    By Marjorie on 2007 01 31

  3. And the worst part is, those teenagers probably didn’t give it a second thought. But hopefully, one day when they have babies, they’ll understand too.
    I’ve always been a Maw-Maw driver, even at the age of 16, so happily I skipped that stage.

    By Renee on 2007 01 31

  4. I second the looking both ways twice before going through a green light.

    I lived in Spokane for a few years.  Capital of the red-light-runners.  Every single red light would be followed by 5-8 cars - even while your lane is green.  Even saw a fire dept vehicle be the 4th or 5th car through a red light.  I’ve been almost killed in that town more than any other time in my life.  A black Suburban at 2nd and Lincoln.  A gray Suburban at I-90 and Pines.  A Roto-Rooter guy at Pines and Mission.  A furniture delivery truck at Division and 1st.  And too many semis to count (yes, even the semis run the lights).  Ugh, it’s making my blood pressure go up just to type this.

    By Lanna on 2007 01 31

  5. This is why 16 yr olds should either 1) not be able to drive or 2) have to take a serious driving class..none of the usual easy cheesy bullshit that everyone takes. Seriously. Teen and 20-something drivers scare me. I even scare myself sometimes!
    Glad ya’ll are okay.

    By texasbelle on 2007 01 31

  6. Very glad you are okay.

    F*cking teenagers!

    See, I am willing to say the four letter words for you.

    By mdvelazquez on 2007 01 31

  7. Glad your ok! And Anne’s right 16 is just too young. God , I know I shouldn’t have been driving at 16. But I was. Maryland just bumped the age to 18. Hopefully when my kids are older they’ll have bumped it to 21.

    By kelli on 2007 01 31

  8. Reading this made me take a deep breath because I also had a close call yesterday. I don’t think my situation involved teenagers ... the other vehicle was too big and too expensive than one normally driven by teenagers around here.

    It sucks that people don’t think and drive.

    By Bonnie on 2007 01 31

  9. Oh my gosh. How scary. I’m so glad you all are ok. I would have gone home and stayed there too. Teen drivers really are scary. They get their friends in the car and they worry abou the radio and looking at themselves in the mirror an the rest of us pay for it.

    I know what you mean by “on the other side.” I often wonder when it happened that all of a sudden I was the grown up. I now look at teenage girls and think they don’t have enough clothes on. And I’ll see teenage boys revving up their cars and think about how I wish I could call their mothers.

    By Christine on 2007 01 31

  10. So glad those asshats didn’t cause a serious accident!

    By Sarah on 2007 01 31

  11. Guilty:  “These are the types of encounters that make mothers seem like complete spazes to their teenage daughters.”

    my god it’s a fine line and i do remember my mom trying to explain that one day i would understand.  now, i do and man it’s scary.

    By piglet on 2007 01 31

  12. VERY glad that you are all ok.  The EXACT same thing happened to me a while back.

    By Carmen on 2007 01 31

  13. So glad you are all okay. Give LB an extra tight hug and then relax as best you can.  They are stupid teenagers. I remember many, many close calls that I have had over the years (seems more up here in the Woodlands - rich kids given expensive cars by their folks) and they are usually teenagers.

    By Margaret on 2007 01 31

  14. Sheesh!  Being in a colllege town, I have learned to always pause extra long because college kids around here run red lights all the time.  I’m so glad yall are ok.

    By Magnolia Mom on 2007 01 31

  15. I’m so glad to hear you’re all okay. Hold your loved ones extra close tonight.

    By Sallyacious on 2007 01 31

  16. I am SO glad all three of you are safe and OK. What a scary, scary ordeal and a split second could have made the difference.  Unfortunately with “kids like that,” it sometimes takes them having a car accident before they wake the hell up.

    I frequently curse the assholes who run the four way stop one block from our house. And they do it CONSTANTLY.

    Glad you’re guardian angel was watching over you. smile

    By Jamie on 2007 01 31

  17. Geez that’s scary. I’m so glad you’re both OK. Thank you for sharing this to remind us all to be safer drivers. It’s easy to just cruise through our days, lost in our thoughts, not remembering that people are killed in car accidents every day. I’ll sure pay more attention after reading your tale of caution.

    By Colleen on 2007 01 31

  18. Amen , and I’m so gla and you guys are okay!  My sister and I were two cars behind my mom and BIL in Phoenix one day when the same thing almost happened to them…it was really scary.

    By sarahgrace on 2007 01 31

  19. Hey Leslie-
    So glad it was a miss.  I am sooo glad you are both ok. smile
    Take it easy, take it slow.  Too bad you can’t buy idiot repellant. Hugs.

    By Jessica on 2007 02 01

  20. How scary, and I am *so* glad it was a near accident - not a true accident!  Little miracles…

    I’ve posted on this very topic (crazy ass teenage drivers)  back in ‘05.  It is scary - I have do drive through the worst part of it every weekday while driving to school and back.  Really, to go a step further, I am scared to death because the children today are eventually going to grow up and be in charge of something…which should put a fear in all of us.  Our future - it ain’t looking so bright.

    By Charla on 2007 02 01