I don’t normally wax serious in this space, graciously provided to me for the random thoughts of a writer. I try to keep my musings positive, or at least find the brighter side of challenges we all face at one time or another.
Also, I try to mix it up a bit, avoid being redundant in my jabbering. But here I am, not only pontificating on the rules of the road twice in a row, but repeating a public service announcement I’ve made before, but it bears repeating. So listen up.
Put your gosh dang phones down and pay attention to what you’re doing, especially when you’re driving a 3,000-pound, or more, hunk of steel on wheels.
Maybe it’s not your phone you’re fiddling with. Maybe you’re tuning the radio, maybe you’re digging through a purse or shuffling through papers on the passenger seat. Maybe you’re day-dreaming and concentrating on the task at hand.
Or maybe you’re in such a gosh darn hurry to get where you’re going you think it’s worth the risk to drive with half an eye on the road and your foot pushing the accelerator.
Stop it! Pay attention; you’re operating a potentially deadly weapon.
Three weeks ago, my cat was run over and killed in front of my house. I know these things happen when pets roam free. She was a rescue cat, literally born in a barn, and it was impossible to keep her inside. And we live in the countryside with lots of critters; it was her job to stop the mice and chipmunks before they invaded the garage, stashing their acorns and seeds in the cars and the travel trailer.
We live at the end of a dead-end road — nobody should be going so fast that they can’t stop for an animal, domestic or wild. Or for a child, because there are plenty of them walking to and from the school just a block behind our house.
I often have to slow my car to a crawl and give a gentle toot of the horn when kids are walking three or four abreast, all talking and laughing, unaware there is a car approaching from behind. I always smile and wave at the kids. Sometimes I roll my window down and exchange a friendly hello.
I know some of you don’t do that. You gripe about kids having no respect, or not enough sense to get out of the street, even when there is no sidewalk for them to stay on.
They’re kids. They’re blessed with a sense of immortality (we all were at that age), and they’re having fun. They also forget what they’ve been told and run into the street on occasion, chasing each other, or a ball, or a pet. Give them a pass.
I think we’re all getting too lost in our distractions and business we’re forgetting too much of what’s important. Answering your phone, or worse, texting while you’re driving is not important. Choosing the presets on your radio while you’re driving is not important. Finding a stick of gum, a tube of lipstick or your glasses in your purse or pocket while you’re driving a car is not important.
Kids who should know better, but forget, are important. Pets who can’t know better, are important.
Leave early, slow down, keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road.
Judith Liebaert writes for Positively Superior and the Duluthian. She is the author of “Sins Of The Fathers,” a crime novel set in Superior and inspired by a true cold case. Find her online at judithliebaert.com.