By Eric Barrier, a junior journalism major from Somerset.
Apparently CARFAX reports do not list hauntings, possessions or any other supernatural phenomena in a car’s history. Otherwise I would have known what I was getting myself into when I bought my car. In three years I have had my car run into in multiple parking lots, I have had it run itself into a guardrail and I have had it flooded up to the steering wheel.
My car’s attraction to disaster is more than abnormal; it is paranormal.
But I am used to it now; I realize these things just happen, and my insurance agent now sends me a card every Christmas.
So I wasn’t fazed a few Thursdays ago when I received a phone call around 4 a.m. from a police officer who told me my car had just been run into in the parking lot behind Dupree Hall.
No big deal, I thought. I’ll just call my insurance agent, say, “Hey, it’s me,” and everything will be taken care of. These things happen all too often.
Then the police officer told me the driver of the other vehicle was drunk when he hit me. That’s when I got mad.
It is one thing for someone to hit your car, but it is something else entirely if someone is drunk when they hit your car – it is irresponsible and negligent.
After my initial rage, though, I was able to calm down and reflect. The driver and everyone else were fortunate: at least the guy hit an unoccupied car and not an occupied car or someone walking around the parking lot. Imagine explaining that to the other person: “Sorry, dude, I’ve had a couple.”
Or imagine not even having that chance.
I remember vividly the afternoon 10 years ago when my grandfather was killed by a drunken driver. I wasn’t old enough at the time to quite grasp the gravity of the situation because a 9-year-old only comprehends death as meaning “he’s there” and “he’s not there anymore,” but in retrospect the whole situation pisses me off.
But what is to be done? I could throw out statistics from the MADD Web site about how 17,419 people died in 2002 alone in alcohol-rated crashes, but drunk-driving is usually an impulsive thing, and a drunk doesn’t process numbers well.
I could suggest prohibition or putting more highway patrol officers on the road, but besides the logistical problems of such undertakings, who would want that?
And my Honda can’t be everywhere to watch over and intercept drunken drivers, so what then?
I think the best solution for everyone is if you can’t be a responsible drunk, have a responsible friend.
If you know you will be drunk before the night’s end, hand your car keys to someone, and if you know someone who refuses to give up their car keys, use any means necessary to prevent them from driving. You are doing no one any favors by appeasing a drunk.
As I am writing this column, my car is in the shop getting two driver-side doors replaced, and I don’t like not having a car.
I know I cannot avoid bad things happening to my car, but please, do not drive drunk around Richmond and save us all the extra trouble.
Remember, my car is possessed, and though I think it is calling a Mulligan this time, I do not want to have to deal with it if the Civic also turns out to be an agent of divine retribution or anything like that.