Friday, January 30, 2009

Drunk Drivers

Full disclosure: I don't drink alcohol.
I had 1 glass of champagne at my wedding, and another glass after graduating college, but other than that and a slug of Nyquil once or twice when I've had a bad cold, nada.

Mind you, I've got absolutely nothing whatsoever against those who do imbibe. I've worked at renaissance faires for years, and done a tour of duty in the Marines, so I'm no stranger nor prude when it comes to consumption of adult beverages.

It's simply a habit I've never acquired.

But people who drink and subsequently operate motor vehicles, IMHO, ought to be summarily executed on the spot when apprehended. Some countries do virtually this, and their drunk driving rate approaches zero, with a recidivism rate of exactly zero.

I can remember one time when I was being followed by some jerkweed at night, regardless of whether I sped up or slowed down, and it took a 2 million candlepower floodlight pointed back over my shoulder to get him to back off my bumper. About 3 blocks later, he ran past me as I turned off, then he went through a red light, into another car, and slamming into someone's bedroom wall, after (I later learned) having sideswiped 3 other cars - all while intoxicated. This was immediately after my floodlight trick enabled me to put some distance between us. Had I been one of the other victims, instead of a mere near miss, I think I'd have beaten the guy to death long before the PD ever arrived on scene. I take attempted murder via automobile seriously.

But you shouldn't think I have no sense of humor.

One Sunday afternoon, after the then-wife-unit and I were doing laundry and visiting my mom at home, we were headed back to our little apartment in separate cars. As a light we were waiting for turned green, we were both - in adjoining lanes - nearly rammed by some doofus who turned left as soon as the light turned in our favor right across the path of both our cars.
Best of all, he was looking the other way when he passed, not even noticing the oncoming traffic - in this case, the two of us. He could have killed either of us.

Pulling over, I yelled to the wife-unit in her car to return home, and I'd follow Mr. Idiot and straighten him out. I should point out that this was a decade or more back in the pre-cell phone era.

Well, Mr. Idiot drove around, going far too fast, then far below the speed limit, and back again, weaving in and out of lanes and around other cars. Fortunately, it was mostly in residential areas, and traffic was rather light. He was apparently drunk, but it was only when I noticed he was rubber-necking at every corner that the Whole Truth dawned upon me: this jackhole is looking for an open liquor store!

Now I was really starting to boil, as he careened from one near disaster to another, and as usual, there was no cop around to flag down anywhere. Well, after 20 minutes or so of following Mr. Idiot, he finally found a local bottle-seller to slake his thirst and continue his buzz.

By this point, I was ready to rip his head off and crap down his lungs, and I parked across the street from his parked vehicle, and headed over to "educate" him. He was by this point standing in line with another pair of a six-packs of beer in hand, and visible through the glass storefront as I approached him, with a view to activating his dental plan.

And then, a miracle happened.

As I passed his car, I noticed the driver's window was open. And the engine was running. Which meant that the keys were still in the ignition. O, happy day!

I said to myself, "Self, we don't NEED to have this "conversation," do we?"
And leaned into his car, reached over the steering column, and turned off his car, pulling the keys out of the ignition. I turned, pocketed them, and headed back to my car.

On my way home, I threw his car keys out the window and into one of the local flood control channels for the L.A. River.

My only regret was not being able to see the look on his face as he searched his pockets, the car, the store, the parking lot, and God knows what else looking for the keys he no longer had.
And I still kind of wish I'd beaten him to a bloody pulp anyway, or seen him taken away in handcuffs, but with the cavalier way the courts treated drunk driving back then, I suppose it's better the way it turned out.

I was defintiely smiling when I got back home to help put away the laundry.

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