Road Rage

Bombshell Betty

Jeff Brock’s “Bombshell Betty,” about which more later!

I spotted the huge red Ford truck (an F-350?) from about a hundred yards away, barreling down unpaved Miranda Canyon Road toward the stop sign at the intersection up ahead the way so many do. The other guy could surely see me but apparently had no thought of stopping. Of all the nerve, I thought, and dangerous, too. For several years now I’ve been on a hopeless one-man neighborhood crusade to alter that behavior in this location, so I was primed. Sometimes I just honk and shake my head, but as we were already on a collision course, I stomped on the gas to make it clear I knew I had the right-of-way. He did, too.

I wasn’t going to kill us, so I skidded to a stop on the gravel road and honked before I reached the intersection as he roared on through toward Hot Springs Road. A second later, however, he pulled over on the left side and slowed, leaving room for me to go by on the right. As I did, he swerved sharply in my direction! I slowed to a careful crawl and we both stopped.

“What the hell are you trying to do?” he yelled.

“Stop sign!” was all I said, jerking my thumb back to where he’d been, and then proceeded. So far, so good. I’m so smart.

Unfortunately, we were both headed in the same direction on a long road that went down to the highway; I’d have him in the rearview mirror all the way. To thwart any mischief and get the hell out of the way, I pulled into a driveway at the first curve. Instead of zooming by, he stopped in the road, blocking me in, and he was most offended:

“What the hell’s the matter with you, go home, get off the road, what do you think you’re doing?!?” etc., etc.

Imagine this about twenty times. I wasn’t angry, just incredulous. I hadn’t even entered the intersection where he ran the sign, and here he was yelling at me.

“There’s a stop sign back there!” I called out, rather calmly I thought.

“I saw that, but I was going faster than you!”

I have to admit, this momentarily disarmed me. “Uh, you have to stop at the stop sign…” Brilliant!

This he didn’t like, and the verbal punishment replayed. I just shrugged and said, “You gotta stop at the stop sign” three or four more times before he gave up and drove on down the road. Whew. Well, no whew. I could barely see around the curve as I backed out, but I noticed that he’d pulled into a driveway himself about fifty yards away, backed out, turned, and backed back in, facing the street, waiting to pounce when I drove by. I decided not to find out if he planned to ram or shoot me and quickly turned around the way I’d come. There was an alternate road down to the main one and I took it, holding my phone to dial 911. I guess he didn’t see me, though, because he didn’t follow.

Well, now.

Besides hoping he doesn’t live here, what else comes to mind? Time to stop driving like a fourteen-year-old in Abilene, Texas, perhaps? Those were the days, all right, and there were more than a few car chases, but we were having fun. A few trash cans in the alley got whacked and maybe a squirrel. Peel out in somebody’s driveway. Play the menace in the junior high school parking lot. No one was even dating yet, we jousted with our cars. Or Dad’s. But no, that’s not it. I learned a lot from those times. I know what a car can do.

This was like the time I yelled at a cop in Washington, D.C. (Don’t ever do that, by the way.) I was right and he was wrong and neither of those means a damn. There’s a higher order of awareness, anyway.

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John Hamilton Farr lives in Taos, New Mexico, U.S.A. with his classical pianist wife. “Possibly the only place I can get away with this,” he says. As New York Times best-selling author James C. Moore (Bush’s Brain) put it in a review of John’s first book, Buffalo Lights is the work of a man attuned to the world who sees it differently than you and I and writes about it with a language and a vision of life that is impossible to ignore.” John is the author of BUFFALO LIGHTS, TAOS SOUL, ANOTHER DAY IN PARADISE, and THE HELEN CHRONICLES. He has been publishing online since 1996 (Zoo Zone, Farr Site, MacFaust, GRACK!, FarrFeed) and blogs regularly here at JHFARR.COM. See also → John’s Twitter profile, Amazon Author Page, video channel at YouTube, and website photos at SmugMug. To email John, please see CONTACT INFO on About page.  

  • Rick September 23, 2014, 8:34 AM

    There are still way too many crazy drivers in The Last Frontier… i.e. everything west of the Mississippi.

    • JHF September 23, 2014, 8:40 AM

      My wife might agree with you, although with a different dividing line. She said something about the “renegades” here, which is partly true—although with the Church of Guns making life more dangerous everywhere, I’m not so sure this is regional—anyway, I told her, “People in the Midwest, say Iowa or Wisconsin, would also run that stop sign.”

      She said, “No, they wouldn’t, because it’s against the law!”

      Not sure where that leaves us. 🙂

  • dar September 23, 2014, 2:28 PM

    good grief,Prof John, you must have horseshoes up yer …
    Playing chicken& big mouth bass with Jabba the Hutt!
    Might-is-right.
    All old motorbikers know this…the holier than thou ones[like yourself] are dead.
    You are playing russian roulette…genes,booze,prescription drugs, etc alter the brain…throw in some ammo…*bang*…famous last words,“Uh, you have to stop at the stop sign…” Let ‘er ride. Dealing with these guys/gals is like reasoning with your[&my] mother..Just give them a cheery smile…cuz ya never know what’s down the road& you might need their help. Just sayin’

    • JHF September 23, 2014, 3:21 PM

      I totally agree, of course. You did note the “There is a higher order of awareness” line, right? 🙂 I did expect the guy to stop, though.

      The thing is that almost everybody coming from that direction runs that stop sign. People pick their kids up from school there, too. Some day there’s going to be a terrible accident. Not excusing my complicity here, but until yesterday, no one has been so brazen as this dude, and certainly no one has ever defended running the stop sign, especially on the grounds that higher speed gives one the right to do so. He must have going at least 40 mph past the sign, too. Scary sumbitch.

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