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“I Almost Killed Someone Today”

On Friday, very alert — thankfully — “06880” reader Chip Stephens wrote:

I almost killed someone today.

I was heading into Parker Harding Plaza from the Post Road. It was a typical Westport morning there: cars running red lights to make it through to save a few seconds, others blocking the intersection so no one could move.

I was in no rush. I’ve been numbed to the idiocy of drivers to get nowhere fast.

Westport has plenty of congested corners. This (with a photo showing a parked car in a no-parking zone) is one of the worst.

As I turned to enter the lot for my morning Starbucks fix, I luckily observed a middle-aged man stopped at the corner, waiting to cross the street toward the bridge.

He had stopped to adjust his earbuds or read his latest text. You know where this is going.

As the car behind me with orange plates blasted his horn so I would rush forward — the light had turned green an instant earlier — I started into the lot. That’s when the iPhoneiac walked right in front of me, oblivious to the world around him.

I jammed on my brakes. The guy from New York behind me jammed on his brakes (and hit his horn). The iPhone man did not flinch. Instead he flipped the bird to us all.

I almost killed him. It was that close.

Pay attention, dude!

Jackson Browne sang it so well: “They say the end is a blink of an eye.” Would his family miss him tomorrow? Would his wife ask why him, why her? Would his friends question fate or karma?  Would the police blame me?

Would the world have changed for many who knew this man who lost his life because of his cyber bad habit of turning off the realities of the world around him, not knowing or caring if God or fate would protect him?

I know I thought all those things in those brief moments after I almost killed him with my SUV this morning.

I thank God he spared all involved. I promised myself I would tell the story in the hopes maybe one person would get it.

So: Unplug. Pay attention. Your ignorance will not only involve checking out of 06880. You will affect many other lives in a bad way. And the resulting mess will really piss off lots of bad drivers.

Thank God I did not kill someone today.

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