I’m bypassing the post about how I was depressed and didn’t realise it. It’s not that I don’t think it’s worth talking about, because it is, but this just happened tonight, so it’s still fresh.
I followed a guy that I thought was drunk, and I confronted him when he pulled into the convenience store parking lot.
I had to meet some people at the Tim Horton’s and got stuck behind this guy doing anywhere from 10 to 40 km/h in 50 and 60 km/h zones. He was swerving and hitting his brakes all willy-nilly and generally being a nuisance, so when I saw him getting into the drive-thru, I realised that I had a couple of minutes to talk to the family I was meeting. I saw the shiny, new avalanche leaving, so I got behind him and followed him back downtown. It was the same erratic driving as the way up, sometimes almost coming to a complete stop and then taking off slowly.
When he pulled into the Mac’s, I got out and approached his truck. He had oxygen tubes in his nose and his eyes were droopy and dull. I asked if he was alright and he said he was fine. I then asked if he’d been drinking and he got pissy and exclaimed that he hadn’t had a drink in twenty five years. I told him that he was driving pretty crazy, and that he was endangering anyone who was out on the road, because he wasn’t paying attention, but he told me he was just fishing for change and that he had looked around, and there wasn’t anyone following him, so he didn’t think it mattered. When I told him that I was right behind him the whole way, he said he didn’t see me, so I explained that he obviously wasn’t paying attention around him.
I then told him to go home, and that if I saw him driving like that again I would call the cops on him, and that he had better get to the doctor’s to get checked out. I believed that he wasn’t drunk, but he definitely wasn’t all there. He looked to be about 70, and possibly medicated.
Looking back, I probably should have followed him home, even though he said he just lived down the street, but I didn’t. If he left there and ran over a kid, I’d be responsible for that.
When I was telling Mrs. B about it, she said that she would never have thought about confronting someone about their bad driving. She figured most people wouldn’t. They would maybe phone the police or just complain and be on their merry way.
I wasn’t brought up like that.
When I was a kid, if someone was driving dangerously or swerving around, my dad would chase them down and bawl them out. He would threaten to physically beat them if he ever saw them driving like that around his kids again. The funny thing was that he would be chasing the guy with me in the 1981 Civic wagon. He was a really good driver, but when you look back, it was probably just as dangerous as whatever the offender was doing.
My dad’s not a big guy. Not by a long shot. Most of the guys that he pulled aside could probably have hung a beating on him if they tried hard enough, but he didn’t give a shit about that.
Right is right, and at that moment his family’s safety was paramount to him getting beat up.
It wasn’t always a safety issue either. Sometimes it was waiting for a ride at a fair, or maybe Canada’s Wonderland. Some big guy would shove his way into line, and Dad would tap him on the shoulder and tell him to get to the back of the line. Most of the time the person would be embarrassed and just go, but the odd time they would ignore the stocky, little bastard that had just called them out. He would then explain that all of these people had to wait in line, and that he wasn’t going to just waltz up and get in before them. If there was more persistence, he would threaten to take the guy to the back of the line, but by now, the others would be grumbling about how Dad was right and that would be enough.
Luckily he’s a persuasive bugger, and can usually use wit and tenacity to handle situations like that. I have never seen him have to fight anyone, but I have no doubt in my mind that he would.
I guess that’s where I get a lot of that from. It has never occurred to me that I shouldn’t stand up for myself, or for what’s right. Paul was like that too, but Paul was a big man and very intimidating. Dad was maybe 5′ 6″ and 170 lbs, but he wasn’t afraid, and probably looked a little like a bulldog. Nobody likes fighting a bulldog. Not White Fang, not nobody.
Whenever I notice something that I don’t think is right, I say something. If I hear some kids yelling “motherfucker” in the busy downtown, I tell them to have some respect when there are other people around. It’s not that I don’t love to yell “motherfucker”, because I do. It’s one of my favourite cuss words. It’s just that there is a time and place for that kind of thing. Until the world is ready to accept that they are just words, we have to be mindful of other people’s feelings and personal space. It’s just common decency.
Just like not endangering people’s lives and not butting into line are common decency. Sometimes people just need to be reminded that they are acting like an asshole. I know I need it from time to time, just ask my wife. If no one ever corrects us, then how will we ever know? Sure, we may not care what you think, but I guarantee that you’ll feel better about yourself, even if you do end up getting your ass kicked. Hell, I’ll even help you write up that guest post. 😉
In conclusion, I’d like to thank my dad for instilling that sense of collective well-being and looking out for your fellow man, no matter what the odds, or outcome. None of us are perfect, but if we try to do what we can, our world can only get better.
Now Daddy didn’t like trouble, but if it came along, everyone that knew him knew which side that he’d be on,