Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Neighborhood Vigilante

I tend to be a law abiding citizen, and when it comes to driving, I really try to keep in mind my safety as well as the safety of the other people on the road.

Last fall, an incident happened that irked me at the time, but happened so quickly, I didn't have much time to react.

Here's what happened.

As I traveled south in our neighborhood, I approached a four-way stop. There were cars to my right and left, both of which had come to a stop first, so I waited my turn. The car to the right of me (traveling east) nudged ahead into the intersection, and turned left, which means she was now facing my direction. Or partly facing my direction. Because the driver had turned the wheel such that she was in my direct line and unless something happened quickly, she would hit me.

"Are you kidding?" I yelled into the empty space. I quickly looked behind me, threw the car in reverse, and slowly moved the car, backwards, down the road in the direction from which I had just come.  The other car continued to approach as if she couldn't see my car at all. So I went through the same steps to move my car farther away from hers, all the time seething that this negligent person could be on the road. In my effort to keep our cars from hitting (or rather her car from hitting me), I had to hop the curb. Backwards. I kid you not.

As I sat half on the curb, I watched the car crawl by me at a snail's pace. The driver had sunglasses on and didn't look like she could see well. In the rear view mirror, I continued to watch her go on her way, straddling the middle of the road. In a huff, I went back to my regularly scheduled driving and eventually made it to my destination.

Imagine my surprise yesterday as I turned onto that same road and saw the exact car approaching me. I hadn't yet reached the intersection, so I sprang into action, moving as far to the right side of the road as I could. Due to the snow, my attempt was hindered, but in the end, I'd moved far enough away to keep from getting hit.

Again, I watched her in my rear view mirror, making her way up the road like a new driver. Or one that shouldn't be on the road.

"That's it, Melina," I said. "We're going to cut her off and get that license plate number. We're on a mission now."

To make a long story short, I peeled away from the curb and wound around the back of the neighborhood. We caught up to her just in time to watch as she gave no clearance to three school kids walking home. She turned the corner, and so did I, which meant I could clearly see her licence plate number. I wrote it down, called Tim and asked for the non-emergency number of our local police, and put the call into them.

The woman who answered my call took down all of my information, plus the numbers of the plate. She asked if there was a time of day that the car seemed to be out, and thankfully, I was able to answer that I'd seen the driver both times around 3 o'clock on a Tuesday.

What can the police do? They told me that they'd send a patrol car to scope out the area and see if it happens again. What do I want the police to do? Go to the person's house and speak with her. I'm annoyed and flustered and scared that this woman can cause some irreparable harm. What am I going to do? I'm the new neighborhood vigilante. If I see her again, I'm going to put a stop to this nonsense before anyone gets hurt.

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