Tonight, as I was driving to my local grocery store to buy TWO GALLONS OF MILK FOR A DOLLAR (seriously!), a group of pre-teens on their bikes had taken over my street. They were literally in the middle of and on the both sides of the road-and they did not give a poo that I was driving steadily towards them. I gave them my classic “What the heck is wrong with you?!” look as one child gave me the finger and another angrily proclaimed, “Something-something-something-lady!” while running towards my car like it had insulted his mother. I don’t know what he thought he was going to do. I don’t know if he knew what he thought he was going to do, but dammit, he was ready to do it.
Ya’ll. These kids scared the crap out of me. My first feeling was pure anger. It was a fierce combination of “Why are you doing that?! You could get yourself killed!” and “Why are you doing that?! I am trying to go somewhere and you are being obnoxiously rude!” For a brief moment I think, “If I only gave them a little nudge….maybe….if their parents aren’t around…” Then, I worry about them. I seriously could have hit one of them. What if I weren’t looking at the road? What if I were texting or leaning over to pick up something I had dropped? What if I had sneezed? I worried in the same way I’d worry about a puppy if it were in the middle of the road, except that these pups know how cars work, but they’re too stupid to care. They think they’re invincible.
After this heated exchange, as I was almost to Kroger to get my TWO GALLONS FOR A DOLLAR, a feeling of sadness rushed over me. Why did they think it was okay to ride their bikes in the middle of the road? Why was it okay to flick off a stranger and run towards her car like he wanted to hurt her? Will one of these boys be lying on the ground when I am driving home? Probably not-but it was certainly a possibility. Should I have spoken to their parents? If I had, would they have cared? I shouldn’t have reacted to them in the angry way that I did. I should have smiled and pulled over and told them I was worried about them getting hit. What would they have done if I had? Would they have reacted violently or were they only doing that because I put them on the defensive with my angry expression? I honestly don’t know. I do, however, know that what I did isn’t working.
I think it might be PSA time. We all know that drugs are bad, but there are PSA’s on them anyway. Most of them are supposed to be common sense. “Say no to drugs.” “Have safe sex.” “No means no.” What if in addition to those ads we included campaigns like, “DON’T WALK IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD-A CAR COULD HIT YOU.” or, “YOUR KIDS ARE SO DUMB-EDUCATE THEM.”or, “STOP CUSSING AT ADULTS-YOU’RE EIGHT.” While we’re at it, “WIPE THE SEAT OFF IF YOU PEE ON IT.” and “WAVE BACK WHEN SOMEBODY WAVES AT YOU.” might be nice.
It’s possible that these kids have great parents and they’re just trying to impress each other. I imagine that is the case with a few of them. Boys will be boys. I’ve heard some stories of some pretty good men who hit mailboxes with baseball bats when they were boys (my lips are sealed). So, this is my PSA. I guess I’m just hoping that some parent out there is reading this and thinks, “You know what? I’ve never talked to Jr. about where he rides his bike and respecting drivers. Let me go do that right now before he gets hit by a car.”-or nudged-by an angry-something-something-something-lady.