This may be an unpopular opinion, but I am really glad that Jessica Hall got off on probation.
For those of you unfamiliar with the case, Hall was slogging through horrible traffic when she was cut off. Twice.
MSNBC tells the story: “On a sticky day in July, Hall was driving north on Interstate 95 with her children and her pregnant sister. Traffic had slowed to a crawl when, she said, another car cut her off twice, once causing her to swerve onto the shoulder. Angered, she flung a McDonaldâ€™s cup of ice into the other car, where it flew across the driver and landed all over his girlfriend. The couple said they hadnâ€™t even noticed Hallâ€™s car until the cup landed.”
She was totally wrong for actually throwing the cup, but good grief, I have been in that situation and I know how that feels. My hands have itched to hurl something at an inconsiderate driver more than once before.
Maybe it’s because I live in the worst road rage city in the country. Seriously, if I was ever filmed for that now-defunct VH-1 show Motormouth, y’all would think I was crazy. Drivers here have absolutely no consideration for each other. My route to work every day can take me as long as an hour, from the suburbs into downtown. Almost every day I get frustrated by drivers who seem to make a game of zig-zagging through morning traffic, follow me too closely, go 25 miles an hour because they’re talking on their cell phones, then switch into my lane without an indicator. And believe me, I curse, I honk my horn, I respond with anger. So when I read about Jessica Hall — just like Chris Rock said about OJ Simpson — I’m not saying she should have thrown the cup, but I understand. There but for the grace of God, go I.
Then I read about her life and the whole thing hit home even more: “Hall, 25, of Jacksonville, N.C., is a mother of three and her husband is serving his third tour in Iraq. Speaking to the Post before the judgeâ€™s decision, she said she has cried every day she has spent locked up in jail. Planning to go to nursing school, she said she wonders what job she will be able to get once potential employers do a background check. â€œNow people are going to see me as an angry, road rage, convicted felon. And it really upsets me,â€ she told the newspaper. â€œI must have been wrong… but seriously, God. Lesson learned. Lesson learned is one hour in this place.â€
My heart goes out to her.
She is so lucky to have gotten off so easy. She is so lucky that things turned out as they did. That couple could easily have swerved off the road and gotten into an accident because of her impulsive anger. Or she could have messed with the wrong person. My mother-in-law once had a man pull a knife on her because she honked at him. Another time, my brother-in-law was driving in Chicago. He was stopped at a light with a friend, and they were laughing at a joke. Apparently the man in the car next to theirs assumed that they were laughing at him for some reason, and he threatened them with a gun. In both incidents my in-laws got away unscathed but shaken. The lesson I’ve learned from their experience is, you never know who you’re flipping off in the next lane. As my dad (often) says, “there are mad people everywhere.”
For me, the so-called McMissile offers a valuable reminder. I will try harder to restrain my road rage — perhaps changing my current ride-to-work mix will help. (On a side note, so good to hear Andre 3000 rapping again on that remix!)
After being locked up since January 4, I’m sure that Jessica Hall has learned her lesson. My one question is — did the jerk who cut her off twice in traffic learn anything? Will he become a more considerate person from the experience? I have a sinking feeling that him and his girlfriend are still on the road, obliviously to the other drivers around them. Who knows, I may have driven past them on the way to work today.