Thursday, June 19, 2008


In addition to being 9/10ths of the law it would certainly explain my instantaneous digitus impudicus response to some kid who was cruising down our street today at about 40 mph. Because the speed limit is 25 and my oldest daughter and I were walking on our street and because I am nothing if not a paragon of adult responsibility, I yelled at him to slow down as he cruised by me. And he flipped me off! It was then that I lost all credibility with a sudden POOF! and returned his gesture and apparently, to my ill-spent youth. I have no other explanation.

It’s a good thing I wasn’t arrested.

On the bright side, I found out who the little punk was and that he just got his license. My question is, does my momentary immaturity disqualify me from an adult follow-up role in this case? Or... do you think his parents would be interested to hear about his fast, one-handed driving habits? Eeeee-heee-heee-heee-hee. (Now there’s a chin!)

Clearly, I'm not over the immaturity thing yet. I'd better give it a day or so.


Burgess Laughlin said...

In your state, can you write directly to the Dept. of Motor Vehicles? If you have the license number, note it, the date, time, and other circumstances. State the facts. Draw a brief conclusion (threat to safety of you and your daughter).

You might not receive a response, but in Oregon, I've been told (at least in past years), such letters are kept on file. Police do access them. This is only a small step but it might lead to justice someday.

LB said...

Thank you for your suggestion, Burgess.

I have written letters to the local police about speeders on our street to no avail. Clearly I am not the only one on the street who has done so because periodically, they come set up the automatic speed detector boards. I've yet to see someone get pulled over.

I have never considered writing to the Registry of Motor Vehicles (in Massachusetts). My own experience with that agency has been so unpleasant that I hesitate to align myself with them even in the name of potential justice. I'll have to give that some thought.

The worst part is that my indiscretion didn't even make it better - not one little bit.

C. August said...

So you're upset with yourself because you flipped the kid off? I'm not sure why - you were justifiably angry with the kid's driving and his disrespect. You showed your disrespect as well. Would it be any better if you had said "Fie on you!" or bit your thumb at him?

Regardless, that in no way means that you can't send a letter to his parents. You don't even have to mention that he flipped you off, because it's largely irrelevant.

I think that Burgess' suggestion of simply noting the facts of his reckless driving and your concern for safety would likely have an impact. Sure, the parents might just take offense and not do anything about it, but they might not.

And you if you have his license plate #, can't you report him to the police? (not the RMV)

I remember when I was a kid, we lived on a cul-de-sac, which was a great place to play because there was almost no traffic. One evening some bozo kid started driving around the neighborhood at 60mph, and in his touring, made one trip around our circle and then went back to the main streets. We could hear him driving up and down other streets, and he eventually made it back for another pass. By this time, my dad had come out, and he had THE LOOK on his face. I had been the recipient of a shadow of that look before, but nothing like it was that night. As far as I can remember he stepped out into the street and stopped the car somehow. I don't recall if he stepped in front of it, forcing him to stop or what, but the kid stopped (poor guy). I don't think my dad even raised his voice. But the look in his eye was one of rage and barely suppressed violence, and I'm sure the kid realized he was about to be wiped from existence if he didn't get out and never come back. Man, that was awesome. I think I should call him today and ask him what he said to the kid. I wonder if he even remembers it.

Burgess Laughlin said...

>"The worst part is that my indiscretion didn't even make it better - not one little bit."

I have done the same thing and had the same regret. I have learned from talking with police officers that one's own behavior must be impeccable, no matter the provocation, if one ends up in an investigation or in a courtroom.

I am slowly learning that people who insult me unequivocally do not deserve a response to the insult. But they do deserve a response to their original improper act--assuming I can cost-effectively do something about it.

I have found that letters are almost always a good route. They satisfy my desire to take action. More importantly, a letter is something that can be handed from person to person and filed permanently (maybe). In Oregon, I have been told, if the DMV receives some number of letters of complaint, some level of investigation will follow.

I wish you well in this exasperating (and potentially dangerous) situation with speeders.

LB said...

"Purer than Caesar's wife" is how the clerk magistrate told me I had to behave from now on after I successfully fought a "failure to stop" ticket last year. So, I agree with you Burgess (even though I had to go home and look up what the hell he was talking about) that one's behavior must be impeccable if one is going to be legally judged.

Regarding standing in front of the moving vehicle, C. August, I came about as close to that as I felt safe in doing so, which is how I knew he heard me yell "Slow Down!" right into his window. And, while I can get pretty damn ugly, I clearly haven't perfected my seriously disapproving look to the point where anyone is afraid that I might wipe him out with it. I'll work on it, though.

I didn't get his license, but since I know who it is and what the car looked like, it wouldn't be that difficult to get and report it to the police. I haven't decided to do that yet.

Kim said...

Citizens can actually send tickets to other drivers. You go to the police station with the license number and the police officer will sign the ticket and mail it out (at least it could be done in New Jersey 15 years ago). I think the kicker is that you need to be prepared to testify in court and identify the person driving if they chose to fight the ticket. Don't know if that still works but it is an interesting little tidbit. Don't get drunk with power, now!