I was reading this post on Blogher today and it was too appropriate.
I have fallen asleep at the wheel before. We were driving across country and I was told that we would be home for Christmas, even if it meant leaving me. So despite my exhaustion, I drove on. And fell asleep. My sister woke me up just in time, thankfully, but it was really scary. I really didn't give two shits whether we got home for Christmas or not at that point. I was sleeping, if that meant them leaving me, so be it. Everyone was angry.
That was the worst of it. When I was commuting from Maine to school in New Hampshire to my work in a different part of New Hampshire and back to Maine everyday I got very tired while driving. I used to pull off to the side of the road almost daily for a quick 20 minute power nap. It was enough to get me to where I was going.
Sunday was something else, though. I was very tired and Ryder was asleep in the car. I was literally drifting off so I took the next exit and began looking for the Dunkin Donuts that was promised by a sign. I might have just been too out of it to find it, but I circled the rotary three times before getting off at a random exit. I drove, but could not find the shop. I decided I could not drive any further. I parked in a nice residential area on the side of the road, but not directly in front of any one house. I locked my doors and fell right to sleep.
I think I was asleep for 20-ish minutes when this man knocked on my window. I put the window down and the man was saying "You need to be careful! You have a child in the car! Police come around here - you really need to be careful." I said that I knew, but I was just so tired. He said "You are lucky it is just me. The police could have come by and, geez, you have a kid in the car. You really need to be careful. Are you okay?" I said I was, just very tired. He then asked me for a ride which I said no to. He continued saying the same things then started to walk off. When he was a ways off, I zipped out of there.
I didn't know what had just happened. I was tired confused and now scared. Had I been doing something wrong? Did I put my child at risk? What were my alternatives? I cried the whole ride home. I was so very confused. I am not sure what that man thought I was doing in the car, but I am certain that I was not.
If confronted with the same situation again, I am pretty sure that I will do things exactly the same.