She said she had 4-to-5 drinks before she got into her car to drive home. That was in 2011. Today, she’s convicted of criminally negligent homicide. Things happened in between, most disturbing being that a 30-year-old nanny was killed. It’s all very sad.
When I first heard the story I was pretty upset, arguing to my friends about how this 20-something-year-old lady would get off because of a whole sea of reasons–she’s young, she’s white, she’s got money, her daddy’ll probably pay the right people, and on and on. What did I know about any of it at that point? Close to nothing; only what we were writing up in the television newsroom I worked in at the time. I was spouting judgment and vitriol based on fully-unresearched rumor and unwarranted ire.
What a flaming joke.
About four years ago, I was drinking and smoking and reading on my back porch. I’d been out there for hours. That particular early morning–it must have been around 1 am–I got a hankering for Taco Cabana. Drunk as I was, I got into my car and drove the three minutes to the fast food joint. I bought my chicken flautas and headed back home. I lived in a duplex in a cul de sac with my sister at the time. The last thing I remember is turning right into our cul de sac. The next thing I remember after that is being jolted awake by the crash and screech of metal against metal. I’d hit a car. In what seemed like a nano-second, a flash, an instant…I’d hit a car. I remember just sitting there, in shock, choking on bile and fear, dread and shame.
And, if it hadn’t been my own damned cul de sac, I, too, might have driven off!
I was lucky. My sister called the cops and talked to them. Because no one was hurt, they came out later in the morning. The neighbors whose car I hit were upset but not vengefully so. They took their car to the shop, had it repaired and I reimbursed them. I couldn’t even look them in the eye from that point on.
I didn’t go around freely admitting I’d had some drinks before I drove. But, I knew I had.
I could have killed someone. I could have hit someone that early morning and killed that person. I think about that today and it gives me chills. I was so, so lucky.
In this life, we cannot escape sorrow. But there are definite things we can do to minimize it. Don’t drink and drive. Just don’t. Ever. There’s no reason to. And every reason NOT to.
I’m learning with each day now that it’s so much more satisfying to exist in my world if I create situations that delight me. Unfortunate events will occur. But I don’t ever have to fuel them or conjure them up.
Til next time.