Monday, May 10, 2010

Hot Shot on Wheels

On a balmy Sunday evening not long ago, my husband and I took our dog for a walk in our neighbourhood. We did the usual loop—through the park, across the junior school grounds and back home along the residential streets. It was 8:00 in the evening and there were many people still out, enjoying the last few hours of the pleasant weekend.

As we walked along Princess Anne Cres., a beautiful tree-lined street that borders the school, a grey Porsche raced by at about 100 km/hr. The engine roared and as the car barrelled past, I held out my arm gesturing to the driver to stop. He waved in arrogant defiance. Then he whipped around the corner, screeching his wheels, with obvious disregard for his surroundings.

If we’d had a chance, my husband and I would have taken down the licence number and called the police. The guy was either drunk or crazy, or both. A few blocks ahead, just as we were walking by a yard where a group of people were congregating for what seemed a family gathering, the same car pulled to the curb on the other side of the street. The driver, in his early thirties, got out of the car and strutted past us with an air of haughtiness.

“Hey,” he said, peering through cool shades. “Didn’t mean to scare you. Are you all right?” He spoke in a condescending tone.

“Lucky you didn’t kill someone,” I said. “This is a residential neighbourhood, you know.”

“Yeah, I know. I grew up here.”

“Incredible,” I said.

My husband walked to the other side of the street to get his licence plate number.

“Look, my cousin is visiting from B.C. and I haven’t seen him for twenty years,” the guy said.

“And that makes it all right to tear through this neighbourhood like a maniac?”

“You’re all right, aren’t you?”

This exchange happened in front of his family and friends on the front lawn of a charming bungalow; I had to wonder how the audience perceived the encounter. Were they impressed by this cool Porsche driving dude burning rubber in a school zone?

“I wasn’t worried for us,” I said, “we were on the sidewalk. I was worried for the cyclists and children that you could have hit.” More like murdered, I thought.

He made a rude gesture and joined the crowd on the lawn.

In the guy’s mind, his desire to show off for his cousin justified his actions; and the fact that he’d grown up in the area and knew the demographic was obviously inconsequential. Sadly, this attitude of entitlement seems rampant these days. The media is full of stories demonstrating an increasingly pervasive lack of values and judgement.

I don't have anything against Porsches or the people who drive them, but when I see a privileged and educated grown man behave in such a manner, it’s difficult not to feel enraged. When this kind of attitude of self-importance is so blatantly displayed, one has to question where society is headed, and what can be done to stop the madness.

I don’t know the answer. Do you?


  1. What a thoughtless action. You and Paul were really gutsy to talk to him about it. Who knows -- maybe next time he'll think twice.

  2. At the health club, there's a person who parks an orange Lamborghini, taking up two parking spots at the front. Now there's a sense of entitlement! Someone else is deprived of a convenient parking spot so that he or she can have two. Like you, Carla, I have no issue with someone driving a really nice car. But, if the driver is worried about getting scratches on the paint, then park in a less desirable spot further from the club entrance.

  3. More people need to "safely" tell wrongdoers that there actions are wrong. It's the same as speaking out loudly in the halls at the school where I teach telling an apparent bully that his/her actions are not appropriate. I don't hesitate these days to tell folks parking in accessible spots without tags that they are filling spots that are designated for others ... or telling other inconsiderate drivers pulled up in the firelane beside the drugstore or coffee shop that they are causing traffic obstacles. Taking down the licence number is a good start ... write a note to your local police station... at least you will feel better and maybe he'll get a warning. Upspirits. Catherine

  4. I don't trust a person driving a Porsche...