Sunday, January 4, 2009

Question of the Week: Do you Butt in?

Our question this week comes from Wonder Woman, who snagged this question from another blog and wondered what I would say.

You're in a store. A sales associate is really nice and helpful to you. When she's done helping you, she begins to have a conversation with a co-worker, and they're talking loudly enough for you to hear it clearly. Your helper is basically saying she'd drive after having a few drinks if she was the only one in the car, because then she'd only be putting herself at risk.

Which is clearly not true.

So do you interrupt?

In a word, absolutely. Positively! This is one time when I'd be really grateful to have such a big mouth and such undeveloped control of it.

Oh, man, this is one of those times when we just need to live outside our own little bubble in life. In fact, my bet would be that the co-worker with whom this stupid (but nice and helpful) sales associate is chatting with is also seeing red flags everywhere as she listens, but just doesn't have the courage to rock the boat.

Well, rock the boat!

It would be easy to interrupt politely: "Excuse me, I couldn't help but overhear what you just said. Do you really feel that way? Did you forget about the other cars you might hit and the people you would endanger? And do you really value your life so little that you would be willing to gamble it, buzzed and driving?"

Maybe she just never thought about it that way. You know how something can be so obvious, but not until you see it? Maybe she really thought that only her passengers would be risked. The sad fact is that many times in a drunk driving accident, the drunk driver walks away. It's the innocents that don't. Maybe she forgot about them.

We have to live in a world where we care about our brothers and sisters, where we look out for each other the way we'd want others too. Make it personal and think about it that way. What if it was your mother, or your husband, or your child on the road that night that our friendly sales associate was taking her joy ride?

How would you feel if someone you know and love was killed on the road by a drunk driver and later you heard a woman say that she heard that drunk driver talking about how she didn't think it was wrong if she drove after a few drinks as long as no one else was in the car with her? Wouldn't you want to strangle her with the what-ifs of your life? What if she had spoken up? What if you could be that person for someone else, to spare them from unnecessary pain, and even spare that sales clerk from a life of regret and remorse that prison time is not likely to blot from her memory?

Can't we all just risk opening our mouths, even if it might offend, in order to do the right thing? Playing that scenario out in my mind would just leave me no other choice. I wouldn't want to live with the knowledge that I could have changed the course of lives.

And really, what's the worst that could happen? She turns on you and says something rude? Tells you to mind your own business?

Well, somebody was once reminded that mankind is our business. And so it should be.

Question of the Week is the Monday column. If you have a question you'd like me to feature, please leave it in the comments section. Please? I like doing this. And thanks, Wonder Woman!


Annette Lyon said...

One more reason I think Jenna rocks.

Dungeon Master said...

I think that butting in is definately the right thing in this case, too. I'd like to say I have the guts to do it, but I'm completely sure I do.

have you seen previews for a new candid camera show? It looks like the show stages some kind of incident where someone should step in, then see if people do. Looks very interesting.

Anonymous said...

I would just smack that woman hard. Okay, not really, but I would like to think I would say something. My mouth usually butts in all the time...

Abby said...

Speaking as someone who used to drive drunk on the daily.. as someone who learned how to drive while intoxicated and as someone who would feel drunk if she drove sober. Speaking as someone who was in a horrible roll over accident that no one should have survived because of those activities..I would totally butt in. The younger crowd thinks they're invincible. It's not that they're trying to sound like jerks..they think they're being cool by "bragging" about those sorts of things. They think only stupid people who don't know how to drive are the ones who kill people. They think that because they haven't gotten hurt or hurt someone yet that they never will.

Fact of the matter is it's not cool at all in any way, shape, or form to drive while intoxicated. It's something only maturing can make you feel different about. Kids don't get it..they really don't. Talk to them all you want about it..offer stories of people you know and as soon as you walk away, they'll call you names. I've been on both sides of the fence. I've been the drunk driver girl..and I'm now the girl who cannot believe she would ever ever do such a thing. How stupid!

I drink on the weekends and that's no surprise. But I'm proud to admit I never ever for any reason EVER get behind the wheel after even a small sip of wine. I've learned my lesson.

Kimberly Vanderhorst said...

Brilliantly put! I'm still shy in some ways, but hope I'd step my assertiveness up a notch in a similar situation.

Josi said...

Oh, gosh, I hope I'd break in. I think I would, but I hate those kind of moments. This makes me really think it out.

Luisa Perkins said...


I love your big mouth. :D