Every day for the past week, I’ve been stuck behind a truck on my way to work.
And we’re not talking about your run-of-the-mill, two-ton pickup, here. We’re talking about those gargantuan behemoths with skyscraper smokestacks and mud flaps the size of Wyoming. You know, the ones that are either hauling rocket fuel or towing seven trailers sloshing with gravel.
Whenever I see one in my rearview mirror — barreling upon me like some monstrous, unleashed demon — I get all frantic and panicky, like Dennis Weaver with a busted radiator hose.
There’s one in particular that’s always in a hurry to cut me off, just so it can chug uphill doing twenty-five in the fast lane. A mile-long convoy will build up behind us, creating what looks like a rush-hour funeral procession (or maybe the most unimaginative Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade ever).
The truck’s always hauling gravel, too — most of which showers the roadway and patters on my windshield and hood. I think he starts out with a full load each morning and arrives at his destination with half a yard. (Which might explain his repeated trips.)
Nice truck, pal. I’ve seen sieves that make more reliable containers.
Apparently, though, it’s not his fault, because he clearly has a sign affixed to his tailgate that reads: “Not responsible for loose gravel or broken windshields.”
Whoa, there. Say what? I didn’t know a little orange sign could absolve you of the responsibility to secure your load. (Of course, it’s hard to take the warning seriously, especially when it’s next to a bumper sticker that reads “How’s my driving? Call 1-800-EAT-SHIT.”)
I’m not sure if the sign is legally binding, but when your truck has a nut sack dangling from the rear bumper, I’m not one to argue.
So let’s get this straight: If a truck inundates the roadway with a layer of gravel, that’s fine.
But if I toss a beer bottle from my window, suddenly I’m a jerk?
I need to get me one of those signs. Except mine would say: “Not responsible for broken glass or erratic weaving.”
Can you imagine if an officer pulled you over?
OFFICER: Do you know why I stopped you?
DRIVER: (Belches.) No.
OFFICER: You appeared to be doing seventy-five in a school zone down the wrong side of the street. Plus, you tossed a beer bottle from your window. It shattered and gushed all over the roadway.
DRIVER: Damn. I must have tossed out a full one.
OFFICER: Do you have any idea how reckless you were driving?
DRIVER: Not really, sir. I’ve been drinking all night.
OFFICER: OK, that’s it. I’m taking you in.
DRIVER: You can’t.
OFFICER: I can’t?
DRIVER: Nope. Check out my rear bumper, sir. I have a sign that states I’m not liable for broken glass or dangerous driving.
OFFICER: You’re serious?
DRIVER: Go take a look for yourself. It’s all spelled out very clearly on the sign.
(Officer tromps to rear of car, then returns to driver’s window.)
OFFICER: I’m sorry, sir. I didn’t realize you had a sign absolving you of all responsibility for your actions. You’re free to go.
DRIVER: No harm done. Thank you, sir. (Speeds off down wrong side of road; takes out fire hydrant and ill-placed skateboarder.)
It’s not that I mind being pelted with boulders as I drive to work — especially if they’re Stonehenge-sized granite slabs. I actually enjoy the star-shaped cracks that dot my windshield, with their outspread fissures stretching like cancerous tentacles.
But if you’re going to destroy my car, then can we at least do the speed limit? You know, so I can make it to work on time?
See, it’s the whole slow-motion aspect of it that drives me nuts.
And besides, when we’re plodding uphill with hazard lights flashing, how’s there even enough of a current to sweep out all that unsecured gravel?
It doesn’t make sense … but I guess it doesn’t matter. As long as the driver has that wretched sign affixed to his tailgate, there’s nothing legally I can do.
However, I did call the 1-800 number to complain about his driving.
Perhaps not surprisingly, they told me to eat shit.