August 30, 2004

Surreal beyond belief...

Tonight, at 5:30p, I'm going to be in Centerville, Utah filming a segment for an upcoming episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show."

No, Oprah's not going geek. The reason for this is even more surreal, but the reason being requires some explanation.

I don't drive. I used to drive. I was usually the designated driver because while I enjoy the occasional drink, I don't like getting drunk. However, I'm a nervous driver. I get so nervous behind the wheel that I'm a hazard to others on the road. I know this, I acknowledge this. So, I let my driver's license lapse. Now, I just carry a state identification card. It's all I need.

Anyway, back on July 20, I was riding the #70 bus from Salt Lake City to Layton after attending an ADO.NET certification class. When we got to Parrish Lane and Main Street in Centerville (after being picked up nearly an hour late) around 6:30p, we stopped for the light. When the light turned green, the car in front of the bus moved, and we felt a small jolt. It felt like the bus had slipped a gear. It's happened before. No big deal.

The bus driver got out of the bus, went outside, came back in, smiled, and started handing out comment cards. He explained that the bus had been in an accident. Needless to say, we were all surprised.

When we got outside, the SUV that had caused the accident had pulled into the parking lot of the park we were next to. There were two additional vehicles behind the bus. The one in front had some rear-end damage. The one in back was smashed.

The paramedics came and carefully extracted the passenger from the rear vehicle. From what I learned, this gentleman nearly died as a result of his injuries.

The next bus came about 45 minutes later, but the police wouldn't allow us to leave on that bus. We were able to catch the next one, however.

So for me, the accident cost me a total of about two hours. I can forgive the delay.

I received a phone call at home on Thursday from UTA Customer Service telling me that the lady who caused the accident was going on the "The Oprah Winfrey Show" and wanted to apologize for causing the accident. She asked for my permission to give the show my personal information. I granted it.

Friday afternoon at work, I received a phone call from one of Oprah's staffers. She verified that I was in the crash, asked me what happened, and then started asking me a lot of questions about drunk driving. Turns out the lady who caused the crash had been drinking and driving.

I was livid. She then asked if I would mind appearing on the show. Given how I feel about drunk driving, I agreed.

Evidently, this lady wants to apologize to the people she affected by drinking and driving. Well, while I can forgive the consequences to me, I cannot forgive the act itself. She went out and got sloshed in the middle of the day, then went driving in rush hour traffic on the busiest surface road in the area. It's the equivalent of drunkenly firing a shotgun randomly into a crowd. Sure, you might not hit anyone, but chances are someone's going to get hammered. Someone did.

Personally, I think that the DUI/DWI laws in this country are too lenient. Driving is kind of like surgery. You mess up, and someone's going to die. If you operate drunk, you lose your doctor's license permanently. Let's extend that logic. If you drive drunk, you should lose your driver's license permanently.

I know that I'm a hazard behind the wheel. I've done the responsible thing by removing myself from the driving pool. Let's remove these schmucks from the road.

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