I cut around another mom today in car line. I had showed up with 15 minutes to wait on a rainy afternoon and was sitting there watching all the other cars pull in front of she and I. We were on one side of a “Y” merge and the cars that passed were on the other side. I sat there staring at the 3 car gap between us and the next car and waited. And waited. And Waited. The other cars had all moved up when school let out and the minivan in front of me did nothing.
No brake lights flashed, no inching forward, no movement at all in front of me. I slowly turned my wheel to back up and get out of line. Nothing. I pulled up next to the woman, thinking that maybe she was waiting for someone to exit the church rather than waiting in car line. She was half-turned the other way, so I drove past her and pulled in front of her. I noticed the car behind me following my lead. When I checked my rear-view I noticed her sort of looking at us passing by with a dazed expression on her face and leaning against the side window.
I think the woman had fallen asleep! I almost felt bad. I had cut in front of a person in car line that appeared to have been so tired she was catching a quick nap while waiting to pick up her kids. Then I thought about how tired she must be. I reminded me of all the times I have been so tired (or sleepy) driving the kids to school that when I get home I say a silent prayer that we all got where we needed to be safely. My anger had evaporated—after all, there but for the grace of God go I. I just pray she got home OK with her kids. I also got grateful that I was not that tired today.
Back when I lived in DC, a few people were making jokes about micro-sleeping in their cars during their commute. It turns out the sleepy-driving is as bad as drunk driving. And there are lots of other less than ideal side effects. Lack of good quality sleep can cause weight gain and decreased cognitive functioning. So if any of you folks out there needed some scientific justification for taking a power nap on or after your lunch…you now have it. Sweet dreams people!