The whole neighborhood is talking about me. I mean, I would be talking about me too if I saw myself standing out there in the middle of the street shouting down cars like a wild woman. But, of course, I have a perfectly understandable reason for my behavior: It’s that people can’t drive.
They speed down residential streets where children pounce like puppies. They don’t even pretend that the glaring red octagon of civil law means anything. I’m not even talking about a slow, look both ways roll-through; I’m talking blowing it, full on.
Unless they are all pregnant women about to give birth, this is a problem.
On any given day, anywhere between three and eight children populate my front lawn. They play running bases. They play soccer. They have baseball catches, frisbee throws, water balloon fights.
I stand on my lawn surrounded by the running children, and in between handing out ice pops or chatting with a friend, loudly scream at offending vehicles, “Slow down!” Or, “Are you kidding me??” They have even inadvertently taught my children a new dirty word or two. So that now before I even pull up my druthers and set my face in a scowl, I might hear my five-year-old next to me take the words out of my mouth, “What’s your rush, asshole?”
I am simultaneously mortified and proud.
Sometimes I aggressively stand in the street, forcing them to slow down. On one occasion, I snapped a picture of a license plate. On more than one occasion, I was embarrassed to discover it was a neighbor I was shouting at. But then, I wasn’t embarrassed, because I have children to protect.
Although dirty, shocked looks and fingers abound, no one had ever confronted me, until today. As I was unloading groceries in front of my house, a black car pulled up next to me. The window slid down and a woman I didn’t recognize called out, “I’ve been waiting to catch you for months now.”
“Yeah, you yelled at me to slow down.”
Shit. “Really?” I wanted to take as tough of a stance as I did from a distance but I was also afraid she was going to yell at me, “Uh, well I’m not sure…Um…”
“I just wanted to apologize and tell you that you were right.”
She went on to tell me that she had given me a WTF hand gesture at the time, but then realized that she had been going too fast, especially down a residential street. She had been waiting to catch me for months to tell me that she now drives much slower and with greater care.
Well, hot damn.
So while my kids are out there chasing balls, you’ll find me out there with them chasing cars.
A mom’s got to do what a mom’s got to do.