Lo runs a small home improvement and home repair business in Edison, New Jersey, but he is more known for his reckless driving than his occupation.
When I first met him, I didn’t know his driving reputation. I even took a ride in his car, but now I’ve already forgotten where we went and for what purpose. One usually has a pretty good notion what a bad driver is like. One often talks about bad drivers, for example, “he creates his own lanes” or “he doesn’t do lane signals when changing lanes.” This is to say at least the bad drivers are aware of the existence of “lane”. However Lo is somebody who doesn’t think “lane” exists. I was shocked when he changed three lanes at once without turning on his signal on Garden State Parkway. And while making his dangerous lane changing, he was munching on a bag of unshelled and roasted peanut. I tried to warn him, but I was riding at the back of his van and his music was so loud that he couldn’t hear me. At one point, he even turned around on a ramp to go back to the highway when he exited too early.
After that “suicidal” trip, I tried to avoid Lo and his car as much as possible. However since the Asian community here is not a big one, I still meet him from time to time. Every time I meet him, I expect a new injury on his car or on himself. It could be a dent on the bumpers of his car, or a shoulder bruise due to the seat belt that held him back in an accident. Actually I have to say he is very lucky to only receive minor injuries so far. With his recklessness, I would have imagined more serious damage to his car or to himself.
So tonight a bunch of friends are going to Lo’s place for a gathering. I am determined to make this a driver intervention occasion. I want to gather support from others and together we would forcefully persuade him to drive safely.
“What happened?” We ask when we first step into his place. There’s a big grey patch on his forehead and there’s a cut on his cheekbone.
“I fell asleep at the wheel and my car veered to the ditch on the side of the road. However I always have good luck. My car and I escaped this accident practically unscathed.” Lo says, grinning.
I try to say something, but Lo is so busy ushering the guests in that he has no attention for me. I tell myself that I will wait for the next chance.
Soon the dinner starts and we talk about various things. After we all have two or three rounds of beer and rice wine, I steer the conversation towards electric car and Tammy, who sits next to me, reciprocates with her experience of a self-driving car the other day. What a wonderful opening. I pounce on it. I say to Lo,
“Lo, probably you should get a self-driving car since you know, you probably can benefit from it.” I put it mildly.
“Oh, that’s what I wanted to say for a long time. Lo, you can’t drive. Remember that time when I took a ride in your car, you almost killed a bicyclist on the sidewalk when you made a turn for the parking lot of a corner store.” Pammy says.
“Oh, Lo, I have to say you scared me to death when you smashed my door. You said you were trying to avoid my trash can, but I know you should be more careful.”
Lo tries to defend himself, but his voice is no match for the crowd around him, each trying to remind him of a past infringement.
“Oh, You are all against me.” Lo says, emptying a cup of rice wine, and then pouring himself more. “You are all against me. My doctor told me that I can’t eat and drink anymore since I have type 2 diabetes; my team told me that I can’t do molding because I’m too awkward in my work and too wasteful about the material; my wife told me that I can’t do black jack anymore since I don’t know when to double down. And now my friends, you told me not to drive. This is a conspiracy. This is a persecution. I won’t tolerate it.”
He screams and then he runs off. The guests are shocked. Silence falls on the table and people suddenly don’t know what to do. A minute or two later, there’s a loud noise coming from the garage. People rush there to see what is going on–the garage door is twisted and half broken. Obviously Lo was trying to drive his van out of the garage when the garage door was still in the process of opening up. His car is higher than or the same as the clearance when he’s driving out–so he is stuck.
“Lo, what are you doing to yourself?”