Yesterday, the Missus and I celebrated her birthday by going out to a steak house and stuffing ourselves. (what, you expected less?) I'm not going to say how old she is but she's older than me. I always had a thing for older women and married one. How much older? A whopping 45 days that's how much. Oh I can hear you snickering but it's all relevant. For instance, 45 days alone on a life raft in the middle of the Atlantic is a long, long time.
I considered having a couple drinks before leaving for the restaurant and avoiding the ridiculous prices those places want for a splash of bourbon, but changed my mind. You see, a few years ago I was driving through the neighborhoods of Sand Springs when something happened that forever altered the way I thought about drinking and driving. For years, I think I secretly reasoned that if I could keep it between the lines and didn't bump into anything, I was okay.
But on a late afternoon in September and driving under the speed limit, I approached an intersection with stop signs for the cross-street traffic. Suddenly, very suddenly, two young boys on bicycles appeared directly in front of me. I jerked the wheel hard left and mashed the brakes with everything I had but there was no way to avoid them. I'll never forget the look on the boy's faces as they went down directly in front of the truck. I didn't feel an impact or hear a thump but my heart was pounding as I jumped out the door. Both boys were already on their feet and checking their bikes for damage. I hadn't hit them. They assured me they were fine. I talked with them awhile longer to make sure and pointed out how they had run straight through a stop sign at the bottom of a hill. About that time, a man who had lived on the corner came out and told me those boy had been doing that everyday after school. He knew it was just a matter of time before something bad happened. The boys dusted themselves off, hopped on their bikes, and rode away.
Badly shaken and with trembling hands, I drove on. But later, going over and over it in my mind, it dawned on my old thick head, how if my reaction time had been a fraction of second slower, such as with a couple beers, those boys might possibly be dead.
Drink and drive? Oh sure, you get away with it all the time. Go to a friends house, have a few, drive home. No big deal. But what if you kill someone because you didn't react in time? Now it is a big deal. But now it's too late. Think about it.