Friday, February 24, 2012

Battle of the Birds

Ever hear about an athlete claiming he or she doesn't consider himself or herself a role model?  That they shouldn't be looked up to by kids just because of how they earn their money or because they're in the public eye? 

Ever hear a parent say they aren't a role model?

Ever see a parent doing something and want to go smack the tar out of them for those actions?

Today just happened to be a day when I got to experience that.  Not once, but thrice, in a matter of minutes.

Situation 1 - On the way to work, the car in front of me (and one lane over to the right) starts drifting into my lane.  There's a healthy gap between us, so I'm not too concerned.  There is also a driver in front of me in the lane to my left.  He starts drifting into my lane as well. 

I back off a bit as these two cars are moving to occupy the same spot and I don't want to hit them if they end up colliding.

I'm not sure if they see each other so I honk, just to get their attention.  Both of them immediately swerve back into their lanes.  I can then see the driver on the left screaming like a fool while flipping the bird to the other driver. 

The other driver responds by rolling his window down, extending his arm, and returning the greeting - accompanied by what I can only assume to be gracious words of encouragement.  I'm sure he wanted to make sure the first driver knew how much he wanted him to have a pleasant day.

They speed up and slow down, trying to cut each other off - nearly wrecking several times.  I decided at this point I've seen enough so I speed up to get away from them.  As I approach the cars I notice that each of them has the same bumper sticker.
You can't make this stuff up.
As I pass the cars, I also notice each of them has additional passengers in their back seats.  Sitting there quietly, strapped into their car seats, are a couple of little children.  Soaking up everything.

I try not to judge the drivers.  I try not to think bad thoughts about them.  It's not easy.

Situation 2 - Not five minutes later I am passing another car.  The windows are rolled up, there is cigarette smoke filling the car, and again, there is another little child sitting in a car seat in the back.
At least this window is down, I guess.
I wanted to call the cops and report child endangerment, but I'm not even sure it's illegal to smoke with a child in the car.  Ridiculously stupid and irresponsible?  Yes.  Illegal?  Perhaps it should be if it isn't already.

Situation 3 - A few minutes pass and I'm getting off the interstate.  The car in front of me on the ramp is full of activity.  It's in the lane to exit left and I am going right.  As I pass this car I notice four children in the backseat of a Corolla.  I'm not so good with ages of other children, but I can't imagine any of them are older than five.
Not street legal.
None of them are in a car seat. 

None of them are even buckled in.

The driver is putting on makeup and appears to be singing along with the radio.  Either that or she's yelling at the kids.

It makes me sad to think about all three of these situations.  Sad for the children that they would be raised to think this is normal behavior.  Sad for the parents that they would think this is acceptable behavior. 

I know it's not my place to tell others how to raise their kids.  Everyone has their own methods and I respect that.  I only respect that, however, until it becomes an issue of child endangerment. 

I really wish I'd written down all of their license plates and passed them on to the proper authorities, but I didn't.

The question is:  Should I have done that?  Thoughts?


Derek Aldrich said...

I would have for the smoker and the last one if I thought of it. I think smoking in a car with kids and the windows up should be illegal also.

Helene said...

Ugh, situations like these make me sick. I really wish it were illegal to smoke with a child in the car, esp if the windows are rolled up.

And the lady who didn't have her kids buckled in....unbelievable!!

What's really sad is that these parents are making super bad decisions on behalf of their kids, who are nothing more than innocent creatures who don't know any better.

And with parents like that...well, ignorance breeds ignorance I suppose.

MandyE (Twin Trials and Triumphs) said...

If you had had time (without endangering you have your family to consider), I think it would have been appropriate to report the car with the children not buckled in. That's against the law. The other two situations, while very, very sad, are not technically illegal (smoking in a car with a kid, and foul language / gestures [not counting the road rage, as unless it continued, that would have been difficult for a policeman to cite]).

These situations are all so sad. Maybe this is where "it takes a village" comes into play. We can only hope that - as a community - those children, and the many, many others in undesirable situations - will somehow see better role models outside of their parents...such that ignorance doesn't necessarily have to breed ignorance, as Helene said.

MandyE (Twin Trials and Triumphs) said...

By the way, I don't mean to gloss over these situations. Nothing pi$$e$ me off more [pardon the French that I would not use in front of my own children!] than to see a child being mistreated. It truly makes my blood boil.

Rebecca @ Unexplained X2 said...

The smoke thing drives me nuts! It should be illegal.

I can tell you that while the Crazies have witnessed a bit of road rage from me in their lifetime, they haven't seen me flip anyone the bird...that's so high school (and I would DIE if they did it to their preschool teacher)!!