Tuesday, January 18, 2005

An open letter...

To the young man driving the white four-door car northbound on Montrose near downtown Houston Tuesday early evening: Driving a car, for most Americans, especially in a place like Houston, can feel very much like a simple part of a routine. You probably do it every day, and barely think about it any more. You should think about it. Watch the roads -- watch the other cars. Driving can be dangerous, and a brief lapse of concentration at the wrong time can be disasterous. You had a lapse of concentration this afternoon. That happens; I understand. And you got unlucky, this time. Your lapse in concentration overlapped my friend's, Shari's. You hit our car pretty hard. You were going about 25 m.p.h., maybe? We were pretty shaken up, but as far as we can tell, our bodies are pretty much undamaged. I can't say the same for the car, of course, but then, you must've seen that for yourself. I hope you weren't hurt. I guess you couldn't have been hurt too badly; you were obviously healthy enough to turn east on Bomar and disappear as quickly as you could. I wish you'd stuck around -- it would increase my confidence in the rule of law, and make me more trusting of my fellow man-on-the-streets. These are things that would improve my life. Plus, it was lonely waiting for the police officer by ourselves. Why did you leave? Maybe you were drunk? Or in possession of drugs? No insurance? A high stakes game, that. You're lucky you got away. We told the police officer everything we could about you, but it wasn't very much -- one digit of the licence plate, and a color and brief description of your car, and of you. I'm pretty sure you got away with this, and that makes me rather annoyed with myself. A quicker thinker would've memorized and/or snapped a photo of your licence plate. My chest hurts, driver. And Shari's leg is bruised. And both of us have been painfully reminded of how dangerous the world is. And Shari's car is damaged a not-insignificant amount. I just thought you should know.

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