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The Universal Red Truck


The image is a bumper sticker I created. I think could be the best-selling bumper sticker of all time. Like you, I’ve seen so many social media meme’s and posts urging us to be kind to others because we never know what anyone else is going through. That is so true. We don’t. We can’t guess. We can’t even imagine. Maybe it’s you? Of course it is, because aren’t we all?

I think the word “Beware” says it nicely. 


I see the lights in my rearview mirror. In the dark of late night on this rural road, I catch them even at a mile or more behind me. It seems I pay more attention, in self-defense, to what’s in my rear-view mirror than ever. I see it’s a newer model vehicle, halogens. Ugh.


Until now, mine was the only car on this road. I see the one behind me is traveling at high speed, and I’m already a few miles over the speed limit. I cringe, anticipating and knowing there is no way to avoid what’s coming.   


More quickly than expected, it’s right behind me. It’s a truck, a pickup truck I realize, because those headlights align perfectly with my rearview mirror, defying the tilt of it, the glare bounces straight into my eyes. And in my driver’s side mirror, the reflection feels like a 1000-watt floodlight. “Fuck,” I hear myself say, but remain focused ahead, grateful I know the road’s contours by heart, because I can barely see in front of me.

             

Don’t these pickup truck fuckers know how obstructive their headlights are to the car in front of them?  Of course, they do Tanya. That’s why they do it. You are not going fast enough. Double yellow line.

             

It’s so close to my bumper I can see it’s a red truck. I don’t know who is behind the wheel, but it’s Friday night and I know he’s young enough, or stupid enough, to think he has God as his co-pilot. How does he know I don’t have a gun? How do I know if he does? Things that at one time never crossed my mind.  


There’s no place for me to pull over on this road to let him pass, or I would just to get rid of him. If I brake, even slightly, he will be in my backseat. My anger escalates with his stupidity. He’s not giving up and there’s nothing I can do. No place to go – he doesn’t care.


Finally, he decides to cross the double yellow line, as if that ever meant anything to him in the first place. Rules are for everyone else.


He screams past, flying ahead.


Impulsively, I flash my lights in reprimand, and as quickly regret it. I typically try to recover my pounding heart and clenched teeth. He’s not worth it, my stress. It’s not worth the hot flashes of anger that are likely shortening my life.


Not so far up the road is a traffic light. Ha! I catch up to Red Truck Guy just as the light turns red. I laugh because we’ve ended up in the same place at the same time anyway. I see, as suspected, a young male driver. He knows I am behind him. Who wins?

             

The light turns green and he sits there, Mr. Red Truck doesn’t go, he stays. I remain alert and patient. What game are we playing now?


It doesn’t take long to find out. Just as the light turns back to red he squeals away, sticking it to me, he thinks, by making me sit through another red light.


Yeah, I am angry. Hell yeah! Not about the red light, but about all the driver bullshit on the road these days. It feels like everyone needs to control anything, everything, and anyone, except themselves.


I resist hoping I will satisfy my own ugly desire to see him wrapped around a tree further down the road.

             

The traffic light turns green. And yeah, I’m going through something. I’ve got my own stuff to work on. 

 

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