Machismo on the Road

Fast Times. Big Trucks and Third-Finger Salutes

Machismo on the road

Here in the West, machismo on the road rules. It’s all about fast times. Big trucks. And go, man, go! Especially at a yellow light.

Just yesterday Handsome Hubby and I were reminded of that speed-up-at-a-yellow-light rule when a tough-looking gal in a muscular oversized red pickup flipped me off while we were stopped at an intersection.

Now, what was interesting about this third-finger salute was I wasn’t even driving! I was on the passenger side of the car.

So, the source of her anger genuinely interested me. What had I done to provoke her? Was it my hairstyle? My profile? The music we were playing? Was it too loud?

“Is there a particular reason for the finger?” I calmly asked after lowering the car window.

Machismo on the Road

“Yeah,” she puffed, “You slammed on your brakes and we both missed the light. That sucks.”


I thought of pointing out I wasn’t driving, but that seemed obvious. The light changed. She zoomed away.

And how had we caused her truck — in the adjoining lane — to miss the light? I was still confused.

Handsome Hubby clarified the situation. The red truck driver had been behind us — at a distance — when he stopped for the yellow light; then, swerved sharply into the lane beside us.

“All I did was stop when the light turned yellow,” he said. I saw the truck. It was way back. I didn’t jam on the brake or anything. The light changed color. I stopped. That’s all.”

Ah, sweet illumination! That was it.

New Rules of the Road

My law-bidding recent Berkeley, CA transplant of a husband had violated an unwritten rule of the road in the Wild West. You DON’T stop on the yellow. You speed up. Foolish man! It was his fault!

Honestly, we were lucky the speeding red trucker hadn’t run into — or over — us in our teeny battery-powered energy-efficient electric car. Maybe that pickup gal had taken pity on us California license-plate bearing naïfs after all. She was simply schooling us in the ways of the West with her obscene gesture!

And clearly, we have a whole lotta learning to do as we “unmellow out” from our hippy-dippy life in Berkeley and adjust to life in wide, wild open speedy spaces of the West.

Yes, that’s probably what “our” lady trucker was thinking as she careened off or perhaps, more precisely, what she muttered to herself while switching gears:

“Yea-ha, you scrawny little Golden Staters. You best learn the ways of the road.
Speed up or skedaddle back home to your wildfires and earthquakes, you know, where it’s safe!”

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