Saturday, January 17, 2009


The other day, as I was finishing a 3 mile walk, I saw a strange car in a yard (yes, IN the yard) near my house. I saw my neighbor and her daughter there with another woman. My neighbor waved at me, I pulled my Ipod bud out of my ear, and greeted her. She asked to use my cell phone.

By now, I was pretty sure something was amiss. I'm THAT good! Turns out the woman whose car was in my neighbor's yard (not the neighbor who was present) was falling down drunk. I figured that out with my crack smelling skills and the years I've worked with teens in substance abuse recovery. They wanted my cell phone to call her AA sponsor. The woman couldn't remember her sponsor's phone number and neither of the two cell phones in her possession worked.

I quickly took over from my overwhelmed neighbor who then took her 14 year old daughter home. I could get no information out of the driver, but, in my usual CSI skillful manner, I took her car keys from her hand and moved her to the backseat of her car. The car had rolled backward over the neighbor's shiny, new pewter mailbox and had stopped only when the mailbox and rear bumper met. I stalled when she begged me not to call the cops. I told her I would get her some help. She passed out in the back seat.

A few minutes after calling 911, a large policman pulled up and got out. I mean a LARGE guy. He took some info from me, ran the car's tags, discovered that the tags and vehicle didn't match, and told the woman to get out of the back seat. While he had been gathering info, I had been talking 12 Steps to the woman who clearly understood my language. But, she didn't know her home address, had no wallet or license, and cheerfully admitted to me that she had consumed the entire contents of the fifth of something that had filled the empty bottle now occupying a prime location in the front seat of her leather lined vehicle. This didn't look good, but I promised her I would stick around til she got help.

Help was in the form of, eventually, three LARGE policemen. That's how many it took to subdue this 100 pound female spewing a volcanic gush of four letter profanities at the cops. When they threatened to taze her, I yelled at her to shut up or they would really hurt her. Fortunately, something 'took' at that point and she let up a bit. It did take three cops to get her from the ground, handcuffed and now shoeless, into the back of a caged police car.

By then, it was dark, the tow truck was loading up her Mercedes, and no one still knew her identity or address. Once I was sure she was safely secured in the backseat of the caged police car and couldn't hurt herself or anyone else at that point, I walked the six houses to my home.

I was exhausted. I fully believe that it is no accident that I walked home at exactly the moment my neighbor had exhausted her repertoire of Good Samaritan behaviors (she has the benefit of being the daughter of a minister). No accident. I was able to make a terrible situation a bit less awful. The policemen behaved well - and I think they would have had I not been there. But, she got what she needed. AND she didn't drive any farther in her terribly impaired condition.

I don't normally worry too much about being the target of drunk drivers in the mornings or afternoons when I typically walk. I'm pretty careful anyway. I never have my Ipod buds in both ears nor do I have the volume high enough that I can't hear ambient noises like a car engine. I look both ways before I cross the street and try to be a polite pedestrian, not making cars stop for me when they might get rear-ended at a turn or light.

I think all of these things are important for pedestrians. We have to be alert to our surroundings to remain safe and to keep others save. No one can account for a drunk driver. The unpredictable nature of the illness and its incompatibility (to put it politely) with the ability to properly operate a vehicle make them hazardous to themselves and others. I'm glad I could help keep one off the street for a few hours or days. I wish the woman well, but she doesn't need to be driving a car until she has dealt with her addiction. Better that she curses me from the backseat of a police car than smile at me from the driver's seat of any car.

Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude.

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