Disclaimer #1: I have no children of my own, but I am the very proud uncle of 3 wonderful nephews and one beautiful little niece. With that said, this is what I encountered on the way home from my doctor:
Disclaimer #2: As a driver, I tend to have a strong personality. Yes, I am a tad bit embarrassed about it. I certainly don’t want that to be the example to my nephews.
When I turned on the road leading to my apartment, I noticed gaggles of children leaving the local school. This mass exodus thinned as I approached my home, except for 2 children riding their bikes. As an avid cyclist, I tend to be a bit more flexible on what I will allow as far as “road manners” in respect to the motorized vehicle folk. However, in this particular instance I felt it was a bit much.
As I approached the children, I noticed both of them were on the wrong side of the road, my left. One of the children was staying close to the curb while the other swerving and swaying past the median into my lane. The closer I got, it became apparent to me that the child that was swerving all over the road had no intention of taking notice of anyone that may have been coming down the street behind him – like me, for instance.
Once I got to within 20 feet of the child, I noticed that I could sneak by him without harm – even though he was on my side of the road. I was getting irritated that he still had not looked back to see if anyone was approaching. When I drove by, I honked my horn.
The boy proceeded to yell something vile at me. I slowed the car to a near stop and rolled down my window. This was the exchange that ensued:
Me: What did you say?
Him: Why are you honking at me?
Me: Why are you riding in the middle of the road and not noticing anyone approaching?
Him: I don’t know what you’re talking about.
Me: You wanna tell that story to your parents??
The boy that was riding near the curb looked Hispanic, the one that I almost hit and having my exchange with, was black.
I had, at this point, come to a complete stop in front of an very elderly African-American lady who was tending to her lawn. She stopped tending and was watching/listening to the exchange between myself and this boy. Also at this time, a small crowd of children had started to gather, also listening in on our exchange. To continue:
Him: I don’t live near here.
Me: No problem! I have time, let’s go.
Him: Man, why you gotta get all racist on me!?
I can’t begin to tell you how mad I got. I cannot. I looked at the elderly lady, looked back at him and, I admit, I lost it.
Me: What the f… did you say??!?!! What the f… did you say??!?!!
Me: (voice noticeably louder, head now practically out of the car) That’s the best you got??! That’s the best you got??!
(I pointed to one of the blonde kids that had gathered) You think I would have cared if it was him riding in the middle of the street? What you did was stupid. I don’t care if you’re black, white or green. Stupid doesn’t have color. Actually, you’re lucky I’m not a racist. A racist would have hit you!
At this point he got an apologetic, foolish look on his face. And the elderly lady chimed in:
“I see this all the time. These kids ride around here all the time like that. Its about time someone said something to them.” I don’t want to say that I felt vindicated, but it sure felt nice.
The boy became more contrite, approached my car and was as apologetic as he was going to be without losing face in front of his friends. The lady smiled at me and as I told her “thanks” and “have a nice day, ma’am.”
Is it me?
His default setting is "you're a racist?"
ARE YOU KIDDING ME??!?!?
Reality: If we continue to teach our children this default setting, we will never, ever come together as one society.