This is an open letter to the semi driver that brushed (not quite the right word, evoking gentleness instead of crunched steel and a shattered window) against my car Monday night at 7:50 p.m. in Urbana Champaign, then, after slowing a bit, continued to drive.
My writer's brain immediately thought through all the possibilities of your motives. Chances are, you just didn't look before coming over into the right lane. Not that that excuses you at all. But it's a fairly easy and logical explanation--likely the right one.
What is less simple is why you didn't stop. A witness stopped and called the police. I saw you slow down, so I know you had felt the weight of my little car against your large bulk. Why, I ask?
The most simple explanation was that you thought you'd get in trouble, which you probably would have, to be frank. But that doesn't mean that you are excused for not doing the right thing. Sometimes the right thing involves sacrifice.
Then again, maybe you are a Decepticon (ala Transformers). That's not really an excuse either, though, you know...you could always join the good guys if you wanted to. All you had to do was stop.
Whatever the reason, I just wanted to let you know that by not stopping, I'm afraid you removed the possibility that you would be on my Christmas card list. I hate to say it. But that's how it is. Without contact info, I simply can't put you on it.
So yeah, if you see this, please leave your info so I can add you back in. If you don't want to contact me directly, I'm sure the Illinois State Police would get in touch with me if you passed the info on to them.
In the meantime, I do hope life goes well for you. I hear that the Decepticons lose in the end, so I'm sorry about that ahead of time. I do wish you well--or at least I'm trying to. Sooner or later, forgiveness is likely to come, but frankly, it might take a few days.
Oh, and I hate to tell you this, but as I'm a writer, a version of this incident will likely appear in some of my work sooner or later. I'd contact you to make sure that's okay, but then, I don't have your contact info. Please consider this my attempt.
P.S. I should admit that I'm pretty bad about actually getting Christmas cards out. But if you were on the list, I'd make an extra effort.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Dear Semi Driver on I-57 N,
I'm a writer, an incurable reader, a narrative theorist, a media researcher, a scholar/author/writer/consultant, a PK, and the Queen of Soup Making. I write a lot, and I've taught a wide range of topics in universities. Along my journey I've picked up a PhD in Communication from Purdue and 2 degrees in English. I've been turning my ideas about communication as author-audience relationships into a communication paradigm that can be applied to a wide range of situations. I'm also writing a historical mystery series. I'm a member of Sisters in Crime, and the co-chair of the Mystery and Detective Fiction Caucus of the Popular Culture Association. My MA thesis focused on connections between T. S. Eliot and Thoreau, who each wondered about how to remain still and still moving. Before I went to grad school, I spent 7 years working for a division of HarperCollins Publishers.