Slow Down, Asshole!

223 Comments
little-boys-riding-bikes Image via Shutterstock

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 crazy lady. 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-thru; I’m talking blowing it, full on.

Unless they are all illiterate 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.”

Uh oh.

“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.”

“Oh.”

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.

Comments

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    • 5

      Lisa says

      I would be interesting to see how that turns out if you cause a major wreck. Yes he was going faster than he should. Yes, I threw XYZ in the road and he swerved to miss it hitting a child. Arrest him for speeding officer. Ummm…how can I? You threw something out to mess him up on purpose. Please put your hands behind your back Mrs. _____. I’m arresting you for endangering the welfare of a minor. Sir, you will get a ticket for speeding though. Just remember, by throwing things, you can be putting your children in great danger. That car speeding down the road might just swerve in your yard and hit you or your kids.

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    • 6

      Lauren says

      I second Lisa. While I totally get the motive behind the flinging, know that depending upon the laws of your state, the driver on the receiving end of that toss could have you charged…with throwing a missile. Think not? A family friend received house arrest for simply being in the back seat of a car, while the front passenger threw a partially empty Coke bottle at a car they knew going about 30 mph. It is considered assault and, in that case, a deadly weapon (missile), as the driver could swerve and hurt themselves, others, or worse. Better to let fingers fly than objects!

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    • 7

      Andrea says

      Yes, because engangering the lives of others is perfectly justified if another human being on this planet doesn’t comply with how YOU think people should live. There are more constructive and mature ways to make a point than standing in the street throwing shit at people. Be part of a solution instead of escalating the problem, FFS.

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  1. 9

    says

    you are me, and I am you, and we see the same crazy middle aged women in cross over vehicles that are heavy and don’t stop nearly as quickly as they think they do. Oddly in my neighborhood of Minoa NY it is the local village judge whose husband is the speeder, It IS NOT the teenage boys, it is older men and women who quite frankly should move the F** out of the neighborhood now that they are empty nesters, and if they aren’t going to move, they should at least give the respect their generation claims is so lacking in the younger generation

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  2. 13

    says

    I am that mom in my shared drive way. I have a 9,6,2 and 1 yr old. And a dog and at any given time someone can step off our back steps into the driveway. Now I have taught the kids to look but you know kids. So I have said more than once this a driveway not a highway. And if you hit one of my kids it’s not the police you should be worried about. 😈

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  3. 15

    says

    Seriously. I live on a street where there is a school and you would *think* parents driving their kids to school would be aware that kids live on our street. Guess who are the worst offenders for speeding, just take a good guess. It’s the parents. I get it. You were late because milk spilled, your child wouldn’t get out bed, you had to deal with 54 tantrums, and you are late for work and have a very, very important meeting. I get it, I do. But if you speed down my street, I hate your guts for endangering my kids. Period. Slow the fuck down. It’s not life or death.

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  4. 16

    says

    I love this!! I am her! My house is kid central in my neighbor hood. 8-10 kids everyday. Riding their bikes, playing kick ball, baseball and anything else they can think of. And assholes seem to think the 25mph sign is a suggestion!! So I am that crazy lady yelling at people flying down our road. I plan on making a sign to put in my yard that reads…… Speed limit, 25. Hit my kid because you are speeding, you won’t need a lawyer!!

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  5. 23

    says

    I live on a heavily child populated street with a school at the end of the block, and even emergency services (emts,fire, and police) all FLY down our street like it’s a drag strip. I used to get bent out of shape about the way people drive down our street. Now I just keep the kids I’m responsible for in the backyard

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    • 24

      MamaB says

      We also live on a super busy street everyone speeds on and, yes, the police and emergency services vehicles are the fastest – and understandably so, as they’re trying to save lives, but they’re also the most dangerous because children are drawn to lights and sirens like moths to flame. But I’m sitting here thinking, “We can’t seriously be the ONLY responsible parents who noticed this trend and chose to protect our kids by keeping them away from the road.” We immediately fenced in our yard (by ourselves, in an afternoon – and it’s not tiny) when we moved here to ensure our children and dogs couldn’t put themselves in harm’s way. It costs very little to put up a secure, sturdy fence if safety is your priority rather than aesthetics (if not, you may need to examine your priorities). Is it so hard to believe that every stranger in the world doesn’t love your kids – whom they don’t even know – just because you do? Is it so difficult to understand that you, as the parent, are the one ultimately responsible for your children’s safety? If everyone is so worried about their kids’ safety, why aren’t they keeping them in the security of a fenced-in yard, an enclosed porch, or taking them to a fenced-in park/playground (the latter two we did when we lived in our old house on an equally busy road and couldn’t afford to fence the yard because we were poor college kids)? Our culture’s propensity for blame-shifting, responsibilty avoidance, and litigation never ceases to astound. My husband and I would rather take responsibility for the lives we chose to bring into the world than be victims of some horrible tragedy. None of those drivers made you have kids, live on that street, or let your children play near the road with no barrier or protection. You made those decisions; own them and either rectify them or accept the consequences. You can’t expect the world to shift on its axis to accommodate your life choices; you need to adapt to the reality of your environment. Survival of the fittest…

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      • 25

        Leah Johnsey says

        MamaB-I would understand your very {flawed} logic, if it weren’t for the fact that my child was almost hit by a teenager speeding down the road who was texting and swerved into my yard, and barely missed hitting my child. How would a fence have protected my child? Am I now supposed to tell my children they cannot ride their bikes in the driveway and must stay indoors because I have to punish them for other peoples lawlessness? Other people need to learn to have a sense of personal repsonsibilty as well and should not make me and my children feel like prisoners in our own home.

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      • 26

        E says

        I actually agree with the “world shouldn’t be censored to protect my precious little miracle” sentiment. HOWEVER saying “survival of the fittest” when you’re talking about children being injured or killed while playing in their neighborhoods is pretty damn heartless.
        We’re not talking about questionable language or clothing choices. Speeders/reckless drivers on residential streets are breaking the laws (which exist to PROTECT PEOPLE) and there’s absolutely NO reason to break those laws other than being extremely selfish and lacking respect for human life. Of course I don’t allow my 2 yr old to roam the streets unsupervised (or supervised) but lots of other parents around here DO allow their kids to ride bikes, play ball, etc and our city-maintained sidewalks are in such poor condition they are literally unusable even by those in wheelchairs. As I unload my groceries it takes literally 1-2 seconds for my toddler to run to the roadside. She has to hold my hand but there have been a couple times she’s slipped out and I’ve ended up running my pregnant butt down the driveway to grab her. Someone going 20mph would hurt her; flying down my road at 45mph would KILL her. I wouldn’t want to live with the loss of my daughter due to 2 second lapse in my ‘perfect parenting’, and I’m pretty sure the driver wouldn’t feel so great about it either, regardless of lacking “love” for my spawn. Sorry but your argument is plain old cruel and inhumane. The desire to drive recklessly in residential areas should NEVER outweigh someone’s safety.

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