To the Teenagers who threw an Uncrustables at my Windshield…

Tonight I find my sleepy self with something on my mind…still.

So, here’s what’s bugging me. First, though, I’ll back up a bit.

It’s been a pretty good week. I’m just doing my thing of late, which is intense daily workouts that leave me feeling energized, having fun trying out classes and being motivated by the instructor and the other participants. Call me crazy, but I love it and look forward to it. Last night was no different. I tried out a new class and loved it. And I’m feeling it today. Even so, I left that class all energized and excited to get home to have supper with my family and then get ready to meet up with friends for our monthly book club discussion. We hadn’t all been together in quite a few months, so it was really, really good to be together.

I left before dark–just as the daylight was starting to fade. It was a bit of a hike home in my minivan and not the most familiar route for me, so I was focused and eager to get home and be done with the trip. Plus, I had too much (non-alcoholic) beverage at book club. Sorry for tmi.

Still outside of town but approaching it, I suddenly noticed a few teenagers mulling at the end of a long country driveway. A friend seemingly was walking home from hanging out with them being that he was a ways ahead, going down the side of the road and I was about to drive past him.

I didn’t have the time to check and change lanes to get further away from him, so I kept on. When I was about to pass him, suddenly he casually lifted his left arm up over his shoulder and threw the Uncrustables at me. Going 45 mph, the thing made quite a noise when it hit the windshield, and it startled me.

Yes, a sandwich scared me.

You better not be laughing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The thing is, it scared me and my instinct was to swerve. Since I hadn’t passed the kid yet, had I swerved I most likely would have smashed him.

I’m convinced that angels were holding the steering wheel as I (in my surprise) ducked to the right. It certainly wasn’t from my own levelheadedness.

I was livid. I laid on my horn, checked the rearview, and hastily got all the way in the left turn lane. I turned around and set back down the highway. I got across the street from where the teens had been and did another U-turn and pulled right in front of the old driveway. The teens had dispersed. I could see one way up by the house and the one who had done the deed a little ways away from the house, trying to pretend like he didn’t see me sitting there, staring at him, pleading in my mind that he would be cocky and come see what I wanted…or that a grown up would come outside.

I sat there for a minute, telling myself I couldn’t go down that driveway. There was no way I was going to get myself in trouble for something like trespassing.

When it became clear that nobody was coming, I hoped that my coming back would have made the teens think twice about what they’d done. Maybe they were a little scared, thinking I might call the police. Maybe they’d never throw something at someone’s car again–even if it was just a sandwich.

Teens don’t always have the best judgement, do they! I remember being one, so I speak for myself. Even so, as adults it is our job to help them evaluate their choices, learn from their mistakes, and progressively learn to make better choices. I realize that no one will ever attain perfect judgement, and that we all still make mistakes, but this is one I just don’t feel like letting go.

So, to any teen who might see this (since I didn’t have the privilege to say what I wanted to THOSE teens), please keep a few things in mind:

You may feel invincible at times, but you are not. You don’t know what lies around the corner. I’m not asking you to live your life in fear, but rather to be smart. What you think will get a laugh and make people respect you could quite possibly have the opposite effect. Open your mind to the possibility that even a second of minor stupidity could irrevocably change your life.

Had I hit that kid, or had my four kids been in the car, how many lives would have been changed?

Am I overdramatizing?

What ifs can be annoying, but they can also be useful. I’m so thankful that nobody got hurt last night. I hope that teens around the world who might have thought about doing something like this in the future might somehow, by some means of intervention, think twice. Maybe my story won’t get far, and maybe you’ll all be too distracted imagining the sandwich bouncing off my windshield, but hopefully instead you’ll picture me swerving and hitting that kid and slamming into one of the giant trees.

Did I just say that?

It didn’t happen…but it could have.

Don’t prank around vehicles–even if your object of choice is just a sandwich. It was never and will never be a good idea. Got it?

Thanks.

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