An Open Letter to the Teens Driving Too Fast Through My Neighborhood

Dear Teens Driving Too Fast Through My Neighborhood,

Hi.  We may not have met.  You may never have noticed me.  But, I’ve seen you.  I’ve heard you.  You are, in fact, often my worst* fear.  I fear you when my kids play outside, or when I’m walking the dog, or when I’m running at night.  Believe me, I see you.

You gun your engine, and you go racing through the twisty, little streets of my suburb.  You drive small cars, you drive enormous trucks.  You are male, you are female, you are alone or in groups.  But you have one thing in common:  You’re driving way to f’ing fast.  I’ve seen adults yelling at you from sidewalks.  I’ve heard of adults literally running their lawnmowers into the street, to try to slow you down. I’m not here to do that.

This is not my get-off-my-lawn-you-kids moment.  I don’t want to shake my fist at you, and I’m not going to threaten to call the cops.  I remember, fairly clearly to be honest, what it’s like to be your age.  I remember feeling invincible. I remember feeling in control of nothing.  I remember wanting to do the thing I was told not to do just for the sake of doing it, to prove that I could make decisions on my own and nothing bad would happen.  I was pretty much an adult, but thank god I didn’t have something stuck up my ass like the real “adults.”  In reality, thank god no one ever got hurt with some of the stupid shit we pulled.**  Also, let’s acknowledge that at a certain point in your life, it’s really fun to drive very fast in a very loud (or not) vehicle.  I mean, I think it’s important to put that out there.

So, no, I’m not writing this to try to intimidate you (as if I could).  I’m just writing to ask you, nicely I hope, to please, PLEASE, slow down.  Because some day, someone is going to get hurt.  It may not be you, and it may not be because of you, but what if it is?  What if you hit someone’s pet because it can’t get out of the way fast enough?  What if you hit someone exercising because they had their headphones turned up and didn’t hear you, and you couldn’t stop in time?  And here’s the real issue:  What if you hit a kid?  Wherever you’re going?  It’s not worth that.  It’s not worth ruining your life, and it’s certainly not worth the safety (possibly life) of that child.

These are my children:

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Their names are Madeline and Gabrielle, and they are 7 and 3, respectively.  They like to draw with sidewalk chalk in the driveway and ride scooters and play soccer.  Usually, they look before they run into the street, but sometimes they don’t.  We’re working on it.

Please slow down.  Please.

Sincerely,

A concerned parent who has enough going on without having to worry about you mowing down her kids in the middle of the street

 

*Worst in a way that makes me completely aware of my luck and privilege that this is one of my worst fears.

**And really, my teen years were pretty tame, all things considered.