Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Sidewalk Bikers and Asshole Speed Demons

I spent the weekend at the Dad 2.0 Summit in Houston, a conference for dad bloggers and people who want to help dad bloggers make money by using them to sell stuff.  It was the second such event, and it was a real pleasure to attend, and to speak at.  Last year's version was a little rough around the edges in some ways, but this one was pretty freaking slick.  I wrote more about it, along with a bunch of other guys, on DadCentric.

On Friday morning, I woke up in Houston, more than a little addlepated and raspy from the first of what would be two consecutive nights of karaoke madness.  I texted my wife to see how the kids were and how life as a single parent was treating her.  Everything was fine, she said.  Except that some dude had run over our children on his bicycle as my wife was unloading them from the minivan the previous evening.  

The guy had been riding on the sidewalk (criminal!), when Cobra popped out from behind the garbage can, which had been on the curb for trash pickup.  He plowed into Cobra, and she went down, taking her sister with her.  Cobra ended up with a scraped elbow and a chipped tooth, and both the kids heard a lot of swear words that they had never heard before, at least not from their mom.  Apparently she cussed the young man up one side and down the other.

"MotherFUCKER!"  I croaked through my ravaged larynx.  Then I texted her back: "MOTHERFUCKER."  It was even less effective than the aloud version, despite being in all caps.  I felt seething anger toward this asshole, and equally impotent tenderness toward my baby, especially after my wife texted a picture of Cobra bravely displaying her dinged tooth.  I ranted to my roomie about how I would have wrapped that guy's bike around his neck if I had been there, and he agreed that that would have been the prudent course of action.  But really...I don't know.  What does one do in a situation like that?  I don't think I would have traumatized my kids by doing anything more aggressive than yelling, even though I would have felt confident that the forces of righteousness would have empowered me to Hulk smash with impunity anyone who hurt my kids.

I mentioned the incident to several of my compatriots at the conference, and they all were enraged on my behalf.  But what would any of us have done had we been there? Hard to say.


Yesterday morning I woke up in my own bed, Cobra shaking my shoulder.  The girls and I had a typical Monday together, running errands, going to the gym, and playing.

In the afternoon, the girls rode their wooden trikes to the park while I tagged along on foot.  The sun had all but set by the time we headed back home, and the kids were hungry, tired, and whiny.  We stopped where the sidewalk meets the parking lot, and looked for cars.  One was coming at a perfectly reasonable speed and seemed about to stop and let us cross.  Another car, though, revved up its engine and got right on the first car's ass.  Then it whipped around the reasonable car's driver's side to pass.  In a parking lot about the size of a football field.  

You'll probably think I'm exaggerating the recklessness of this guy, but the driver of the reasonable car, and pedestrian onlookers, were visibly shocked.  Even before what happened next. 

The asshole car cut off the reasonable car and then swerved around the corner about five feet away from the girls and me.

I stepped between the car and the kids, and screamed at the driver: "SLOW THE FUCK DOWN!"  People were definitely staring in horror then.  At the driver of the car, I'm sure.

Because of the weird setup of the parking lot, to exit the park, the asshole speed demon had to drive about fifty yards in the direction he was going, make a U-turn at the dead end, and then drive right by us again on the opposite side of the median strip that divides the main entrance driveway.  I was flipping him off the whole time, and maybe yelling.  I can't recall exactly.

The car made the U-turn and came back towards us.  When it reached the point where it was exactly across the median from us, the driver stopped and yelled back at me: "Nice example you're setting for your kids!"  

There's no question that he had a point, but nonetheless, I responded, "FUCK OFF!  YOU COULD HAVE FUCKING KILLED THEM!"  Even when facing the person in real life, in real time, I felt the same way as I did when I heard about the cyclist mowing down my kids.  I had no fear of any harm coming to me if I could only be close enough to throttle the punk.  The only nagging misgiving I had was what the children would think if I pulverized this guy with my superhuman rage.  I thought I might actually cause his car to explode from the hate-beam blasting out of my forehead.  But he just sped off.

And then I had to calm down and get the girls home.  I was (and am) a little worried that they will start yelling "fuck" in school tomorrow, but not much.  Up until these two incidents, we've been pretty good about keeping the cuss words to a minimum in front of the kids, so at least they were mostly unacquainted with them.

Seemingly unperturbed, the twins shoved off and started on their way home, as I tried to get my heart rate down.  

"Daddy," Butterbean said, "why did you tell that guy to buzz off?"

"Well, sweetie," I replied, "he was going way too fast and driving in a really dangerous way."

"Like a maniac?" Cobra said.

"Yeah.  Like a maniac,"  I said.





  1. I don't even have kids but I live on a block with an elementary school at the end. I'm queen of glaring at people, stepping off the curb so they think I'm about to cross the street in front of them...anything to get them to SLOW down. The worst, ironically, are the parents dropping their kids off and running late.

    1. You and me both, sister! I stand in the middle of the lane and glare as the car bears down on me, flashing 2-5 with my fingers and pointing at the speed limit sign. I've thought about keeping lifelike baby dolls in my van and tossing them onto the windshields of cars as they speed by.

  2. My husband would have reacted the same way. His level of protectiveness over the kids flirts with the edges of insanity. Thank God he has me to calm him down and keep him out of jail.

    Nevertheless, GO DADDY GO!

    And PS I don't know why people have to be such ass-wads. WTH.

    1. It's a weird feeling to have so much righteous rage. I guess I should get used to it.

  3. Unless you're in the business district here, bikes on the sidewalk is legal in my state. So it makes the pedestrian situation kind of sticky. But as we speak I'm actively involved trying to get the crosswalks upgraded at our nearest intersection so I feel your pain.

    1. I'm not actually sure what the law is here, to be honest. I know I've been admonished by a cop to get off the sidewalk in downtown San Diego when I was trying to avoid a traffic light during a bike ride. (I know, I'm a hypocrite. But I was taking a shortcut in a non-residential area and going about zero mph.)

  4. I think that's a perfectly acceptable situation for your kids to learn the f-word.

    1. I'd rather they learn it from me than a stranger. I guess?

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Unfortunately I learned to swear at my mother's knee, and then proceeded to teach my kids the "D" word very well. Sometimes a good swear word is what keeps you out of jail.

    That said, I do think you were right in your perception of the danger your kids were in. My best friend's little boys were walking home from school and were in the crosswalk with mom. The first car in line stopped, and as in your situation, the jerk in the second car was evidently on his way to defuse a bomb or perhaps he was a heart surgeon, either way he couldn't be bothered to stop. He reversed his car, blew his horn, and raced by the first car hitting both kids, and mom. The 8 yr old spent 6 weeks in a hospital and is still having effects from the hit, the 6 yr. old "just" ended up with a broken leg in two places, mom received a pin in her ankle that's still there 14 years later. The driver excused himself then and to this day by saying, "It wasn't a school zone, *and* I blew my horn."

    1. That is a horrific story. I hope that guy has had to make some restitution. If not, I hope he is haunted till the day he dies for being such an ass.

  7. Ha! Sometimes, the potty mouth cannot be avoided. Also, you left off the part about how I supported you in your time of need with righteous indignation, despite the splitting headache I had from the activities in which we'd engaged just a few hours prior. But I forgive you.

    1. On second reading, I see you did reference my support...sort of.

    2. Wait. Were you at the conference?

  8. That's tough man. I probably would've reacted in exactly the same way.

    This last 4th of July we were setting off little fireworks w/ the kids and this guy in a Jeep comes speeding through the neighborhood. I yelled "Slow Down" and the guy stops his car, gets out and is all "What did you say?!". I was ready to throw down, but my brother-in-law kept a cool head and just told the guy to get back in his car.

  9. This article really hit home... As many helpful lessons as it includes, it is obviously a work of fiction.

    My proof?
    "Then I texted her back: "MOTHERFUCKER." It was even less effective than the aloud version, despite being in all caps. "

    EVERYONE knows that typing in all caps makes messages perfectly understood, pretty much declares the author a genius, and makes others jealous that they've only previously used caps to designate states with initials, start sentences, and bring attention to certain nouns.

    Otherwise, as a fellow father who is way tougher behind a keyboard than in person, you did well. Even if your kids drop "F Bombs" in perpetuity, I recall my short fused grandfather over-flipping out about my safety as a child, me being mortified, but also amazed that someone could be so in my corner as to think that yelling every word I was taught not to say to a carefree teenager would make a difference in how he'd drive....until HE had kids one day, of course.

    Good on ya, Betadad.

  10. If it was my wife she would nto have started with everything is fine, except...
    I don't blame you for feeling pissed in either situation. It is hard to stop cursing when you are in a situation like that. I'm big on doofus and moron.

  11. "The hate-beam blasting from my forehead."
    You know,...exactly how we all feel. Thanks for being there to relate to.
    I've always said if I carried some sort of daddy-mounted surface to surface missile defense system, drivers would think twice about driving like morons around my little brats.
    'Nuff said.

    The Cheeky Daddy

    P.S. Added you to my daddy blog list. Hope that's cool.

  12. This was a perfect moment to try out some of your new MMA moves. Maybe a nice guillotine, or perhaps an arm bar, or if you were feeling sprite maybe even a rear naked choke. Just something to keep in your mind for next time.

  13. Totally justified to key that guy's car.


Don't hold back.


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