As a teacher, especially in an English class where discussion and conversation are a daily thing, you never know what a high school student might say.
Recently while I was wandering around to check on kids as they were working on presentations, I saw a hand go up on the other side of my room and made my way toward it. As I arrived, the kids, giggling, said, “Mrs. L, we have a question. Don’t worry, it’s relevant. Well, sort of.”
“Okay,” I say, hesitantly. “What’s up?”
“If you were going to jail, what would it be for?”
Hmm. Well, I wasn’t expecting that. And I have no idea how this question related to their study of Dizzy Gillespie for their Harlem Renaissance Biography project. Anyway, I answered. Why? I don’t know. It was Thursday after lunch. Anything is possible.
“Hmm…good question. One that I’ve never thought of because I don’t think I’ll be going to jail. But, if I were going to jail, it would probably be for a road rage incident.” Where the heck did that come from?!? The answer came entirely too quickly. But don’t worry, I promise I don’t really have road rage. Just a little well-managed anger when driving.
All the time.
After all, I do live in Alabama. Have you ever driven here? Wow. It’s bad. I’m from Michigan, and I don’t mean to say that people there are the perfect drivers, but they know a few basic rules. Let me explain.
1. The left lane is for passing– you might be saying duh, of course it is, in which case I’d have to say you’re not from Alabama (or maybe anywhere in the Southeast). Because here, it seems to be a right to drive in the left lane. Like, I deserve to drive here because I was given that right by the driving gods when I received my permit, so I’m going to drive in this lane for as long as I want even if ten cars behind me want to go faster and there is plenty of space for me in the right lane. This happens all. the. time.
2. Turn your lights on when it’s raining–There are signs everywhere reminding drivers of this, plus I would think it’s just common sense. I can’t even count how many almost-invisible cars I see whizzing along in the rain in a fuzzy cloud of rain and spray. I mean, no one can see you! How do you not realize this?!?
3. Stop at a red light–This is probably the biggest duh on the list. I mean, find a three-year-old and ask him what a red light means. He’ll say “stop”, because everyone knows this. Here’s a tip: If you’re here, don’t go when the light turns green because there’s a real good chance you’ll get T-boned by some idiot running the red light. I wish I were exaggerating, but I am definitely not.
4. Use a turn signal when you’re going to turn–I don’t care how old or how new your car is, it has a working turn signal. People here would have you believe that they don’t sell cars with signals because no one uses them.
5. Stay on the road–this one kind of takes us full circle (I’ll come to that in a minute). When I first moved here I was intrigued by the number of horrific accidents that happen on I65 on a perfectly sunny, dry day. I mean, what are you doing that your car flies off the road when there is no rain, no snow, no fog? I just don’t get it.
Turns out, part of the problem is a combination of those white-knucklers creeping along in the left lane forcing speed demons to whip around all the other traffic, and the fact that none of the above are using their turn signals; therefore cutting people off, clipping bumpers, and sending cars flying into the median or off into the ditch. Don’t get me wrong, this is horrible and I do not mean to downplay it at all, but I do believe that some common sense would go a long freaking way.
Whew, can you tell I needed to get all of that off my chest?
Now we know. If I ever end up in jail, it’s probably related to chewing out some DA who doesn’t know how to drive (mostly I just say a running commentary about their idiocy as I drive). <insert halo-wearing emoji here>
It’s spring break, y’all! Hallelujah!
I’m trying to write for 31 days straight with the Slice of Life challenge from Two Writing Teachers. Wish me luck!!