I was at a book launch the other night, for a non-fiction book set in the world of rock’n’roll. A nerdy, awkward man from the publishing house gave a short speech as an introduction, which involved reminiscing about driving drunk and high down an American highway late at night listening to Led Zeppelin—and how wonderfully the writer in question manages to capture those innocent moments.
For starters, I don’t recall the writer in question ever waxing poetic about drunk driving. It rubbed me the wrong way that night, his meek nonchalance indicative of the fact that too many of us still think that DUI is no big deal. We tsk and shake our head when the latest celebutante does it, but do nothing to stop someone from leaving one of our parties in the same state.
This afternoon I got a call saying that a dear friend of mine, the fiancée of one of my dearest old friends and roommates, was hit at 1 a.m. this morning by a drunk driver going the wrong way down the highway. She commuted from Guelph to Toronto every day for work. It was a head-on collision. A car behind her rear-ended her as well. She died instantly. She was 34. Alcohol was found in the asshole’s SUV. He wasn’t injured. He appeared in court today. Her fiancé was on tour in Regina. He arrived home today. I can’t begin to imagine what it was like for him to get the call.
I don’t know how stupid you have to be to not only get into a car drunk and race down the wrong way on the highway, but to continue drinking as well. You must have a death wish. This time, one of the loveliest people I've ever met got caught in the middle of that death wish before Darwinian logic got to the driver first.
Either way, it’s not a chuckling matter. The publishing flack is lucky I didn’t hear him give that speech this week.
For all those friends who haven't heard, many of the facts are here.