November 3, 2011

3 Wake-up Calls (EDIT)

My neighbor drove in a slight curve, right square into the back of a small car parked across the street. I cringed as she yelled and screamed and ranted loudly. I couldn’t see if her small child was in the vehicle with her. It really upset me. My daughter, Margot, knows about stuff like this, so I called her.

“Maybe it will be a wake-up call for her,” Margot told me. “If the damage is more than 500 bucks, they have to call the cops.”

Someone did call the cops…then two cop cars arrived, then three. Her little girl wandered out into the street. Someone pulled her back onto the sidewalk. The cops walked our neighbor around the corner away from the wrecks. My husband, George, came home, and we both watched the drama.

If she was drunk or breathed on the cops, they would take her away, I thought. She had just purchased this used SUV, and it would be off to an impound yard. The daughter would either go to family or intake somewhere. George told me that if the air bags went off, the SUV would be totaled.

Crowds gathered. I felt guilty squatting down to peer through leaves and tree trunks hoping she had nothing to drink. The afternoon seemed on hold.

After a long pause, the officers handcuffed her and put her in the back of a patrol car. One officer attempted to find someone in the building to take the daughter. No one was home. We didn’t count. Slowly quiet came back to the neighborhood. Someone swept up the broken glass. All of us crept back to our dinners, or news, or what other acts we do at dusk.

“Then again, it might not be a wake-up call,” I told George. “After I went to jail for drinking and driving, all I did was stop driving. I didn’t stop drinking.”

“I feel so sorry for her,” I said watching them tow her SUV away while I stirred my dinner.


  1. How sad! I guess we can count our blessigs.

  2. Oh God! How awful. I can just picture all of that happening as if in slow motion. And that poor child... Let's hope it is a wake-up call.

  3. The wreck perfectly illustrates!

  4. Too bad and too sad.

  5. Thank goodness I no longer have the middle of the night phone call to "come get me at the jail," from a spouse, or the cops knocking on the door to let me know one of my kids is in the hospital.

    My daughter has some of this now. However, the granddaughter who drove into a ditch two weeks ago has 9 months in a certain 12-step program so thank you HP for that. (she was so embarrassed to have an accident when she was on her way to sobriety.)

    BTW, my daughter reads my blog and will kill me if she thinks I was talking about her family. You know how it is.

    Thanks, Dianne

  6. The shock for me in this scenario...looking for someone to take the girl...surely they meant a relative... not just any neighbor!

  7. Even though you and G. have been through numerous such situations in your lives and, thankfully, came out wiser, you still managed to communicate the sadness and hopelessness of it all.

  8. Poor little girl, hope she made it to a safe place with family.

  9. It's a tough disease.. with so many who suffer because of it.

  10. Everybody's comments echo my thoughts. This is such a sad situation. The saddest is the little girl. Her life starts out with too many challenges.

  11. i love the series, and i really love this old truck. any idea of the manufacturer and year?


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Peter in front of a wall sculpture. We were invited up to Peter Knego’s home to see the latest installation.   Abstract flat ...