Maybe a year ago Mr PoP and I were out for one of our evening walks when a VERY LARGE truck took a turn way too wide and we literally jumped out of the way for fear that he would hit us. As the truck drove past, the driver, we’ll call him TG (for truck guy) gave us a nod as though nothing was amiss and he was just nodding hello. Mr PoP and I were gobsmacked. The guy looked and was acting drunk and was driving through our lovely suburban hood. Not cool. But we couldn’t really do anything about it, right? We were a 10 minute walk from home (where our cell phones were) and by the time we would have been able to call the cops he would no doubt have been off the road and what could the police do.
Over the next few days on our walks, we looked at the cars in the driveways watching out for this truck. We were pretty sure he lived in the neighborhood and just kindof wanted to know exactly where so we could be especially cautious around there if this was a habit that we had never noticed before. We found the truck sitting in the driveway of a house and made a mental note of where it was.
A Reason For Inebriation?
Then a few weeks later an email popped up in my Inbox from ePropertyWatch. It’s a free site I subscribe to that helps me keep an eye on which homes have sold in our neighborhood (which helps me more easily track our home value using market comps). Well, ePropertyWatch also has alerts and notifications on foreclosures in the vicinity. And wouldn’t you know, TG’s home had just been added to ePropertyWatch’s list as a pre-foreclosure.
Mr PoP and I reflected on this new news. Given the month or so lapse between the time when documents are effective and when the public databases are updated and ePropertyWatch sends out its notifications, maybe we saw TG on the day that he found out. Maybe the poop was hitting the fan in his life and he had made some bad decisions on that ONE day. We hoped it would never happen again.
But It Did Happen Again… And Again…
It’s now been a few times since we’ve seen him drunkenly driving through the streets in our neighborhood. In the morning and in the evening. On streets that he doesn’t need to drive on to get home. He’s even slow crawled his truck next to us as we walked talking to us drunkenly about my sunglasses. (He was babbling about the pair of Maui Jims he has that need to be repaired.) It made us pretty darned uncomfortable that time especially.
In the meantime his house has actually been foreclosed on. Fannie Mae technically owns it these days according to the public record, but somehow he’s still living there…. and driving around in an inebriated state.
Are We Collectively Cutting Him Too Much Slack?
We’ve never had to deal with the loss of something huge due to foreclosure. In fact, it’s quite the opposite since we’ve had some nice gains in value on the properties we own, all of which were purchased out of foreclosure. So we really can’t imagine the emotions and stress that TG must be going through at the moment. But that isn’t an excuse for endangering others the way he is through his habit of drunk driving*, right?
Given how drunk we’ve seen TG at all hours of the day it seems unlikely that we’re the only one who has noticed this. Come on, we’re basically strangers that live within a couple of blocks of TG, though a google search of his name turns up a relatively normal professional persona. We’ve never spoken with him, well except for that weird sunglasses conversation but he was so drunk I’d question whether he remembered it the next day. Surely friends, family or coworkers are seeing the same behavior that we are, right? Shouldn’t they be taking away his keys and not letting him drive this way? Are they cutting TG slack because of his financial problems and letting him drink too much and get on the road when they know they shouldn’t?
I get it, kindof. I wanted to cut TG some slack at first and crossed my fingers that it was a one-time thing. I blamed the first encounter with drunken TG on the pre-foreclosure we found out about a month later. And maybe all the other drunken incidents that we’ve seen are all tied up in the same mess. But I still want the behavior to stop because it makes the streets of our neighborhood (where we spend a fair amount of time running, biking, and walking) less safe. I think my slack cutting is done for TG.
But What Do We Do?
Confronting TG (as strangers) and asking him to stop driving drunk doesn’t feel like a conversation that would end well. Seriously, could you imagine it? “Hey, you probably don’t remember that conversation we had about your poor Maui Jims… by the way, did you ever get them fixed? But we were hoping you could stop getting trashed and driving around the neighborhood in your big-ass truck. Please? The retirees just aren’t as quick about jumping out of the way as we are and we’re worried you’re going to knock one into a ditch some day. Mmmkay? Thanks! See ya round the ‘hood!”
And as much as we’re not fans of encouraging a nanny state, and largely believe in free will and doing what you want unless you’re hurting others**… Do we call the cops and report TG? After all, we do have his address and the plate number off his truck. But anytime we call after seeing him out he’d be home by the time the police got there and what could they do? Don’t they have to catch him “in the act”? I mean, if they need to catch you in the act of running a stoplight – surely the same standard holds for the much greater offense of drunk driving…. right? (I really have no idea and am guessing based on my viewing history of Law and Order, so may be completely off base.)
I don’t know. I really don’t know. Whenever I think about TG and his driving habits, all I end up with is a *sigh*.
Am I wrong in thinking we’re all collectively cutting TG too much slack because he’s having a tough time financially? Is there anything we can do about TG’s drunken driving?
* There’s a bar less than a 10 minute walk from our house, probably a shorter one for TG. Drink there and stumble home, TG. Please. There is NO excuse to drive drunk.
** To the best of our knowledge he’s never hurt anyone drunk driving. We’ve never seen the truck looking as though it was in an accident, but he really did almost run us down once and we feel there’s a decent risk that TG *could* hurt someone driving drunk.