In 1971 a television movie came on that was very frightening. It was called Duel and it stared Dennis Weaver. In the movie Dennis is pursued by a truck in a dangerous cat and mouse game. Who knew that I would be caught up in a chillingly similar cat and mouse game on the way home from work on Monday?
Monday wasn’t just cold it was cold in that damp way that chills you to the bone. It fit my mood that morning though. I was having problems with my radiator and Darryl had to wake up early and dump something in the radiator trying to stem the leak I seem to have. The directions had instructed me to ride with my heater at its highest setting. This didn’t bother me so much except until the very end of the drive when It felt like an absolute sauna.
I got to work and stepped into my chilly classroom trying to get my thoughts together before the kids arrived. We were going to be covering SWOT today. That is where you take a look at the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats you will encounter by opening your business. I picked In-and-Out Burgers because there isn’t one in Rome , Georgia . I told the kids to pretend that their Uncle Oliver (I stole his name from the book the Millionaires which I just finished reading) had given them the franchise and wanted them to open one here in Rome .
The day drags on. The sky becomes a lighter shade of grey. I wait for my planning period. I have things to do that period like my failure counts. Don’t ask. Actually I’m feeling pretty cocky because most of my students are passing. Moments after I leave my room the phone rings. It’s the office asking if I can cover someone’s class. Not bad I think. It will be a CPA class and I will earn a voucher to allow me to skip a night meeting. I agree to help out.
I had to stay after school for a little while to get that Failure list ready. It didn’t take long but it had to get done. I wasn’t looking forward to the ride home. I knew I needed to check on the anti-freeze before I left. It looked like all that work that morning had done little to help the problem. I added some antifreeze even though I was certain Darryl would get after me for doing so. I just didn’t want to be stranded on the side of the road in this miserable weather.
I got in my car and began the trek home. The speed limit on 411 is 65 miles an hour and I was going 60. I was nervous because the break light was still on and I kept imagining my radiator giving out. To say I was pre-occupied wouldn’t begin to cover it. I called Darryl to tell him I was on my way home. That’s when I noticed him.
In my rearview mirror I noticed THE TRUCK. He was almost riding in the back seat with me. The road wasn’t packed. He could have gone around me but he didn’t. Just as I said, “God Darryl this truck is right on my ….” The trucker blew his horn. “God Darryl, he’s blowing his horn at me.” Darryl said he could hear him.
That long air horn blast is where life begins to imitate art. The truck roars past me and then slows down. He is crawling at 30 miles an hour. I wait to pass him thinking he’ll get over this quickly since he was in such a darn hurry. Instead he keeps this going for about five miles. I then think he’s going to turn off at the Shaw carpet factory on the way home. I just have to get there and he will be gone.
He doesn’t make the anticipated turn. I try to get in the other lane but before I can try to get in that lane he speeds up and blocks me with his truck. I remain in my lane and he slows back down. This goes on for the next four or five minutes. I can wait him out I say. It’s not like I have to race home. I anticipate him going straight down 411 and I would get rid of him as I turn towards Cartersville. In the meantime the trucker slows down to a dead crawl and I just remain behind him.
Just a few minutes before Cartersville he picks up speed, he seems to have tired of the game that only he is playing. Perhaps he feels he’s taught me a lesson. I have no way of knowing. Then I notice he is turning off to go to Cartersville. GREAT! He catches the light and I don’t. It’s harder for him to play the game now. Then at the next light I wound up stopping right next to him. He was waiting for the turn arrow and I was going to go straight. I looked over at the cab. He leans over and blows exaggerated kisses at me. “Fuck you” I scream. “Fuck you.” I have already decided to call his boss.
I get home and call the Warner Trucking Company of Kingston. For all I know I’m talking to the guy who cut me off because the company is that small. There are four trucks and he says he was driving the blue one. Fine then that’s you and I’m going to call the cops. He insists that this other truck is like an aqua color blue. That was it. He told me he would talk to the driver and probably fire him. I don’t normally go out of my way to get someone in that kind of trouble but really it was road rage and it was frightening.