Matt had a Christmas party on Friday and I went even though I'm not very good at parties lately. See this and this.

But I figured that third time's a charm. Plus he needed help and Mr. Pants needed snuggling, so I showed up at 1:00 PM to do both.

We made some food. We decorated some tables. We (illegally) cut branches off of trees in a nearby public park to better adorn Broome Bungalow's chicest spaces.

Mr. Pants and Mr. Scraps didn't help at all. But they get away with it because they're usually doing this incredibly cute thing instead:

Oh, to be pretty.

The party was a hit. We played games. We mingled like grownups. No one (other than Matt) knocked glasses of staining liquid all over furniture. Jolyn was the life of the party, as usual. And we all left at a reasonable hour.

I started driving home, grateful that I finally attended a Christmas party without completely humiliating myself.

And then I saw something strange. And the something strange triggered my spidey sense.

A car was swerving wildly back and forth across the freeway, nearly colliding with a wall several times. Pretty quickly I realized that this wasn't a case of distracted driving. This vehicle was manned by a very intoxicated person.

Fortunately it was now late enough that there were very few cars on the road. Almost implicitly I dialed 911 on my phone.

911: 911. What is the location of your emergency?

Eli: Well, on the freeway. AND I KNOW I SHOULDN'T BE MAKING CALLS WHILE I'M DRIVING but this is important.

911: Eli? It's really late. Can we not . . .

Eli: I know. But I have a true and actual emergency right now. Well, actually I don't know if this is an "emergency" yet. But it could quickly become one. So I'm engaging in preventative calling right now. Because I guess I'm just a really responsible citizen.

911: Ok. What's going on?

Eli: Well there's a driver swerving back and forth across the freeway and I'm certain she or he is intoxicated and they are about to kill someone.

911: What is the make and model of the vehicle.

Eli: Dark.

911: The make and model of the vehicle is "dark?"


911: Ok, what about the license plate number?

By this point the car had pulled off of the freeway, conveniently at my same exit, so I was sitting behind it at an intersection and able to read off the license plate to the operator just before the car pulled forward, ran a red light, and nearly crashed into a road sign.

911: Ok. We will have someone dispatched out to your location to try to find the vehicle. Please don't follow it. Just go home.

Eli: But what if--

911: We don't need you to be a hero. GO HOME.

I drove home like a disappointed child who had been sent to bed by his parents who were hosting a neighborhood party downstairs.

And I never heard what happened. So now I have to live with the unsettling feeling of not knowing whether my narking got someone into serious trouble.

But in any event, consider this blog post a Stranger PSA: please don't drive drunk this holiday season, or any other season at all. Don't test the limits of your supposed sobriety. If you do, I will call 911 and those operators don't deserve that.

A while back I had to spend the morning in DUI court with a relative of a client who had gotten himself into some serious trouble. For an entire morning I watched person after person stand in front of a judge, sobbing (or at least shell shocked) because of how much one really bad decision had ruined their life, and some others as well.

One woman stood at the podium with her attorney who explained to the female judge that his client had gone to great lengths to clean up the mess she had caused with one terrible night of DUI. The no-nonsense 50-plus-year-old judge hushed the lawyer after a minute or two, looked the young woman in the eyes, and said, as intensely as I've ever heard anyone say anything in court, "I don't care what you've done. I care what you've learned. So what have you learned?"

The woman who had been mostly stoic up to this point then broke down sobbing, so much so that the four or five words she said were totally inaudible. The judge never broke eye contact with her before finally offering, "that's what you were supposed to learn."

Please, please, please don't give yourself a reason to learn that lesson, whatever it is.

And if you do, in addition to calling 911, I will personally send you an unmarked poster-sized picture of Tami with a really bad sunburn.

So yeah. Don't do it.


~It Just Gets Stranger