Citizens Arrest! Citizens Arrest!
The other day I was pulled over in my neighborhood. Not by the police, but by a “concerned septuagenarian.” In my neighborhood there is a round-about. The car attempting to enter should yield to those in the round-about. However, this particular car treated the round-about more akin to a 4-way stop, or at least a 4-way yield. I had just voted, was in a hurry and could not be late for my 6-year old’s swimming lessons. Serious stuff.
I eased through the round-about and continued on my merry way. As I approached my destination there was construction traffic. I decided to avoid said traffic and in doing so was “caught.” The concerned citizen stopped behind me and I graciously waved her around. She did not budge. I waved again and mouthed “You may go around” and smiled. She stopped next to my passenger window. She had on dark, huge sunglasses. Bumblebee Glasses as it were. She had a long, skinny cigarette protruding from her mouth. Her car make? Buick. Her mood? Foul.
She stated that she had the right-of-way and that I should have yielded and that the speed limit was 25 and that I was most assuredly going faster than that. I was a little surprised by her comments. It took a second for me to process what she was saying. It was not a close call at the round-about. I did not cut her off, in fact I didn’t impede her forward progress in any fashion whatsoever. It was not obvious driver error, at least to me.
I thought of all the responses I could have made. I thought about being defensive or dismissive or worse. I wondered how she even saw me while she was wearing those huge, elliptical goggles she had for sunglasses. I thought of how bad smoking is, that it causes cancer and that one can also be cited for driving too slow and impeding the flow of traffic. Instead…
I said,”You are right. I am sorry. Thank you for calling me on it and it will not happen again.”
She was taken aback. She was geared up for a fight. She then asked me if I was lost. I said “No ma’am, have a nice day.” Fortunately, there was no arrest nor incident report. She went her way and I went mine. Sometimes, “You are right and I am sorry” is the best response.
Matthew Thompson is a Divorce Attorney in Mississippi cautions all drivers to drive defensively.