My wife and I took my Mom to Red Lobster for her birthday. Mom was giving me directions, and she told me I needed to get over into the right-hand lane. Traffic was heavy, and the small window of opportunity was closing quickly. The problem was — I was in the middle of an intersection, and in Illinois, changing lanes in an intersection is illegal. (This is a law that is either unknown or ignored by every other driver in the state.)

So I was faced with a quandary … Do I obey the law? Or do I obey my mother?

Before you answer, keep in mind that there were no police officers in the car with me. My mother was, and she was pointing with emphasis.

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4 Responses to Quandary

  1. jeff says:

    Hm, tough one. The morals in play are intriguing. The Bible encourages us to be in submission to temporal powers, like the police, and lead a quiet and peaceful life to keep out of trouble. So you have to obey the traffic laws. At the same time it also says children should obey their parents for this is right and your life on earth will be long, for whatever that’s worth. In the OT some disobedient kids were to be stoned to death. So you have to listen to your mother no matter how old you are. So if the temporal powers say one thing and the mother says the opposite thing, you are indeed stuck. So you have to base your decision on a third factor: simple economics. Simple economics boils the problem down to comparing the price of a traffic ticket or the price of your mother thinking you’re a wheeny of a son. Never having been pulled over for making an illegal merge in an intersection, I do not know the price of one of those tickets. Since you are in the Chicagoland area I would assume the ticket would be astronomical. If your mother thinks your’e a wheeny of a son and just ruined her very first and only 86th birthday she may not do anything other than ridicule you, howeve,r there’s an outside chance she won’t help pay for dinner. However, since it was her birthday, I’m assuming you would pay anyway, which means she holds no economic clout over your head whatsoever. Unless she thinks you are such a wheeny of a son that she removes you from her will. However, from what I know of your mother I doubt highly she would do such a resentful thing. Therefore, I believe you were free to make your decision based on simple economics and therefore obey the law taking the chance that your mother will not retaliate in any other way than with words to no economic damage at all whatsoever. However, seeing as how you were in a busy Chicagoland intersection, I doubt you had time to consider all the ramifications of your actions, so you no doubt acted on reflex, which means you probably swerved immediately when your mother pointed, only to then second-guess the move due to the fact that a BMW was closing in fast, so you would have swerved back, missed your opportunity to make the turn anyway and would have headed through the intersection without turning. This, not only allows you to obey the law but also makes your mother feel good that at least her son tried and she did notice that your initial reflex was to obey your mother, which makes every mother feel good. However, seeing as how you are a middle-aged man and no doubt have lost most of your reflexive skills, you no doubt just had a heart attack, stalled your car in the intersection and didn’t do anything, thus obeying the law and making your mother feel horrible for jsut having scared her son into a heart attack. However, since you are a middle-aged man that exercises, I doubt you had a heart attack, therefore I have to base my answer on what I would do in that situation, which would have been to know where I was going in the first place and would have been in the correct lane at that time anyhow, so that doesn’t help either. Therefore the decision has to come down to what would Jesus do. Well, jesus would have been walking and that would have cleared the whole situation up because sidewalk walking does not have such dilemmas, which I believe is why jesus was able to remain sinless, but that’s another subject. Therefore, the decision has to come down to various behavioral traits I have seen in my uncle in the past. He no doubt pulled off something mind-blowingly clever that entertained all involved, leaving everyone, especially Roger, in a state of total awe of the manliness of Roger. Therefore, I believe you probably slammed the car into reverse getting back into the actual lane markers, squealing rubber the entire time, and then dropping the car into drive, slipping in behind the BMW and making the turn, all to the entertainment of all around, as all traffic stopped to applaud the awesome exhibition of driving dexterity. However, seeing as how that middle-aged reflex thing is still there, that probably didn’t happen either. I think you obeyed the law and then pulled into a gas station on the corner and whipped around through the parking lot, thus no doubt breaking another law, and went across all the lanes of traffic without stopping and being perfectly positioned to enter the Red Lobster on time and definitely with an appetite. But seeing as how you were in Chicago, there is never a gas station when you need one so that option is probably out as well. Therefore, I think you obeyed the law and made your mother wait an extra three minutes for her birthday dinner. Next year, take your mom out for Chinese.

  2. kelli says:

    Wow – how can anyone else add to the wisdom of Jeff’s answer?

  3. Tim S says:

    Jeff’s elaborate (and really good) scenario aside, I say you obey your mother. It’s one of the very few times that you can break the law and be completely justified.

  4. beth says:

    wow. just………….wow.

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