Thursday, October 8, 2015

"Me and Custer"

So I had a fun experience this morning. I'm pretty sure the guy was seriously contemplating taking a swing at me. I'm not saying I blame him, I was getting pretty snarky with him. 
I think one reason he reconsidered was because he was in a bad place for fighting a trucker. He was definitely mad though. This was evident when he followed me into the truck stop to confront me. To be fair, once he began irritating me on the road I deliberately antagonized him. Why? Because I could. Here's a snippet of what happened before he slinked back over to his car and tore out of the parking lot:

As I parked my truck he pulled up right in front of me, flung his door open and came at me with a purpose. Even with my windows up I could hear him cussing and carrying on. So I opened my door all casually and smiled at him as I got out. He started laying into me with "I'm so sick and tired of you f%*^ing truck drivers!"
Still smiling I replied, "well that's refreshing. Here I was just telling my friends how we never get enough recognition." He balked for a second before continuing, "you saw me. I know you did! And you just kept trying to push me around! I'm sick of you guys thinking you can bully everyone! You deliberately got in my way!" 

"Well, Sparky, it's like this: I had that blinky thing on on my truck. Did ya see it? No way you didn't because you floored it immediately after I turned it on." 
"What's that got to do with anything?! You deliberately pulled out in front of me, asshole!"
"Yep. Yep, I sure did. That there flashy blinky thing is a sure sign that I was coming over. Are you not familiar with how they work? See, I turn that on to let you know I need to move into that lane. Since you were far enough back when I turned it on the lane was clear. Then you accelerated like mad to try to take up that space. I'm bigger, I win."
"Well you almost hit me!"
"Nope, you almost accelerated into the back of my trailer. Good thing you had enough sense not to. I'll admit I'm surprised because everything you did afterward made me think you were full on retarded."
"What?! What. The. F%^k did you just call me?!"
"Retarded. It means mentally deficient. Below average intelligence. Less advanced than should be for one's age. Did you do poorly in vocabulary in school? You're kinda confirming my initial diagnosis here."

I should point out here that this is the point where I thought physical violence may be imminent. Since "snarky" is my default setting I've gotten good at anticipating when I've struck a nerve with someone. I should also admit that I smiled even bigger as I continued. I figured I'd take the opportunity since he appeared to be trying to determine his course of action. I'd clearly knocked him off balance with my insolence so I just let it roll so as to keep him that way. 

"Look, I signaled I was coming over. That's what I did. Then you kept flashing your lights like you thought that would speed my truck up and get me out of your way. So I slowed down thinking you were special needs and I didn't want to frighten you. Then I just kept your stupid ass there. If you were in such a hurry you shoulda left sooner. 
"But don't you dare follow me into a truck stop to bitch me out like some spoiled little princess and get in my face while calling me a bully when you were the one trying to exert your will on me while I was driving responsibly. If I'm using words that are confusing I'll try using smaller words. Bottom line, you pulled in here to show me what a badass you are and how you're gonna get your way. So either get ready to get your suit dirty and step up or shut the hell up, get back in your car and drive your dumb ass to work. But, if you get one step closer to me I'm gonna kick your asshole up amongst your shoulder blades, pour you back into your little toy and have 10 witnesses saying you assaulted me and I defended myself. So make your choice."

I must say, part of me was disappointed. For a minute there I really thought he had the minerals to take a shot at me. Instead he just stood there shaking. I'm proud of the fact his decision making skills finally caught up with him though. I'm not a violent guy; I really don't like fighting. But I will not be pushed around either. If I let a four wheeler pull into a truck stop and get away with backing me down then the rest of the cars will think it's ok. We can't have that. 
Had I not been in a truck stop I'd have simply dismissed him. But in a truck stop parking lot? I can't have him embarrassing me in front of my friends like that. 

"So what's it gonna be Captain Hypocrite? You gonna come bully me since bullying me on the road didn't work? You gonna pull a Custer or are you gonna slink your ass outta here? Either way, I've still gotta pee so you need to either get out of my way or get stepped on."
I guess this finally motivated him because he responded, "I'm gonna call your company. They're gonna hear about this! Nobody talks to me like that!" Then he snapped a couple pictures of my truck. "What's your name?!"
"Well, apparently it's 'Nobody' because I'll talk to you as I see fit. You're an asshole on the road and a complete retard. Now why don't you scurry on to work or wherever it was you were in such a hurry to get to before you thought pulling in here and starting shit was a good idea." 
Careful not to touch him at all, I stepped around him and started to walk inside. Over my shoulder I remarked, "by the way, my dash cam shows you pulling in front of me here and getting out yelling. So if I come out and you've done anything to my truck...I've got your picture and your plates so you should be easy for the cops to find."
I don't actually have a dashcam but there's no way he could know that so I hoped my bluff would work. It must have because my truck was fine when I came back out. 

Now, I'll be honest, I'm not worried in the least about him calling in. I don't doubt he will. And our safety department will probably placate him by apologizing for us big, mean truckers. Then they'll call me and ask what happened. I'll give them my version and they'll say something like "well we rarely get complaints about your driving so I'm sure he just overreacted." They're more diplomatic than I. 

Now, to help you folks out I'll explain a couple things. Firstly, that turn signal means we need over. If you gun it to try to occupy the space we need you're running a big risk. Once we start changing lanes we aren't prone to jerking the wheel to get back in the other lane. Understand we need that lane for a reason. We don't just arbitrarily get in your way. 
Secondly, if you come up behind a truck, flashing your lights like they're strobe lights is NOT going to speed us up. Don't turn the road into a disco just because you're frustrated. With many trucks they're probably already going as fast as they can. 
We see you back there. We most likely saw you a mile before you reached us. Trying to irritate us into moving will sometimes even cause us to slow down because we are thoughtful and are trying to teach you patience. 

Thirdly, and this is important, never ever follow us into a truck stop or rest area to bawl us out. This will not end the way you want it to. That's like watching an inchworm crawl into an anthill. Truckers that weren't even there will swear you came out swinging and then tripped into the pavement five or six times.