Tuesday, March 24, 2015

SOLSC March 24th - Roundabout Racism

Join me as I participate in the March Slice of Life Story Challenge. Other "Slicers" can be found among my students in the comments of my class blog. There are also several hundred teachers participating at https://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com

photo credit: Round-About Sign via photopin (license)
My morning drive is a relatively tame, five miles, with six traffic lights and a Starbucks along the way. The traffic was light since Aurora has a spring break and the couple of schools I passed along the way were empty, without children, parents and lines of cars. But the last part of the drive is the most challenging because of the roundabout.

It's a two lane roundabout with some very specific rules. There are signs at every entrance visually describing that the inside lane exits on the second or third exit but not the first. The outside lane exits on the first or second exit. Like many things involving humans, it works very efficiently when everyone is on the same page, and breakdowns in the pattern happen often. Several times a month I see a fender bender, I've had a few close calls myself, and today was the closest call yet.

I entered the roundabout cautiously, extra aware of the other drivers but confident that I'm doing it correctly. I was in the left, or inside, lane and a white car was next to me on the right. I watched him carefully since it's not uncommon for drivers to forget that there are lanes in the roundabout and drift across the lines. 

We passed the first exit with no issues and I glanced up at the entering lanes to make sure no one was jumping in front of us. My destination was the second exit and according to the rules of the roundabout, the car next to me should be heading out that way too...or there was going to be a problem.


As I started to turn right across the outside lane to my exit, the white car kept on going. Brakes squealed, my horn blared (I'm always ready on the horn in the roundabout), and our cars came to a stop, inches apart.

He was about my age, had dark hair, and a brown Hispanic complexion. As I gesticulated excitedly (without use of single digits) that he should have exited and I needed to go around him, my heart was pounding and adrenaline surged through my body. I was angry because: he was in the wrong, he almost hit me and broke my car and he probably didn't even have insurance!

Wait? What?

As I pulled around him and continued on my way, I was ashamed. I don't think I'm 'that guy,' but in that moment of fear and frustration, that was the ugly thought in my head. Lots of people drive without insurance, and lots of Hispanics are responsibly insured. 

I guess I'm not always doing it correctly in the roundabout.


  1. Glad you got stopped in time! Those second thoughts, when you are calm show how you truly feel.

  2. I am sure we have all had moments like this - when fear blanks all our innate acceptance of others. You knew in the end what was true.

  3. I think when we are upset we sometimes grab onto the worst thing we can think of. I don't believe it is indicative of our true feelings. Thank you for sharing this honest reflection of your experience.