You ever notice how being in a hurry almost always guarantees you’ll get a slow driver in front of you? Add construction work to the formula and you might as well figure that the cows will go milk themselves at the neighbor’s barn and come back home before you even get to work.
That’s how my morning started out yesterday. Just a few seconds before the current version of infrastructure update narrows Summit from four lanes to two, a tractor trailer rig pulled over in front of me. He barely exceeded the 30 mph speed limit from Kansas Avenue all the way to downtown, a ridiculously slow pace for that time of day when people who should have left home three minutes earlier are trying to get to work. I didn’t figure it was worth weaving in and out of traffic cones and a noteworthy fine to save three or eight seconds so I just followed him all the way.
“Ah, well,” I thought, “I’ll be turning west on Chestnut anyway and he’ll keep heading south.” Turned out, he was turning west on Chestnut also. In fact, turning right onto Chestnut with traffic occupying the left hand lane was enough a challenge for him that he was the only vehicle in my lane that could get through the intersection on that light cycle. So, I waited for a pickup truck to come through from the left and then made a right-on-red onto Chestnut.
Soon after that turn, I had to stop, as did the pickup truck. The semi rig was stopped ahead of us, blocking the entire street and getting ready to back into an alley. “Great!” I whined to myself, “He’ll have to pull back up, try again, pull back up, try again and I’m going to end up being late. Grrr…”
Actually, he nailed it on the first attempt, backed in quickly and smoothly and the pickup went on its way down the street. But I decided I was going to give that truck driver an unexpected piece of my mind, anyway. I pulled into a parking space, got out of my car and started walking down the alley.
The driver, who looked to be in his mid-thirties stepped down out of the cab and paid no attention to me, barely glanced in my direction. He started walking toward the back of his truck. He was a burly fellow with shaved head and a thick bushy foot long beard and stood about six-two, weighed around two-hundred-and-sixty pounds. Something between a Hell’s Angel type and a Caribbean pirate without a motorcycle or a sword. So far as I could tell, at least. That wasn’t going to stop me from sharing my thoughts on his truck-driving, though.
“Hey, man,” I called out loudly. He stopped and turned around. He seemed a bit startled at first to see a gray-bearded guy in a business suit walking toward him. As he started walking toward me, he drew his lips tight and a slight frown formed on his face.
Without any other word of introduction or explanation, I told him, “My father-in-law was a truck driver and my brother is a truck driver.” I paused briefly and then continued, “That was an impressive bit of truck driving backing into this alley like that.” I stuck out my hand and he shook it enthusiastically.
“You stopped just to tell me that?” he responded with raised eyebrows and a surprised grin, “Man, you just made my day.”
Tell the truth, it sort of made mine, too.