BY CHARLES MEMMINGER – I was putting some groceries in the back of my pickup truck the other day when I noticed a large piece of lined paper in the bed of the truck. It looked like it had been ripped out of one of those school composition books with the black and white speckled covers. I wasn’t surprised. Pickup truck owners learn that people consider the backs of any pickup trucks dumping grounds. Passersby will throw in all kind of rubbish: shave ice cups, beer cans, crumpled up restraining orders, dead dingoes … whatever.

I picked up the piece of paper and noticed writing on the other side of the page. Here’s what it said (with some of the expletives abbreviated):

“Hey, A—hole – next time park your car somewhere else. Ignorant a–!. How the f— is the driver supposed to get in their car if you park so damn close!!” It was written in the big block letter style that I think in the publishing world is known as “Road Rage Font.”

Now, here’s the thing  … My pickup truck is a little Toyota Tacoma and it was parked well within the my stall’s white lines. The author’s huge “Big Foot” monster truck didn’t quite fit in the neighboring stall and was actually touching the white line. The situation was instructive in understanding the mentality of many of our fellow citizens who share the roadways these days.

Despite the high price of gas, there are still many people driving oversized SUVs or trucks and they feel that, by virtue of the enormous size of their vehicles, they deserve more space on the planet than anyone else, especially on roads or in parking lots. Our parking spaces were fairly close to the entrance to Safeway, considered a couple of the “good spots” that are in high demand. But several yards away the lot was mostly empty where the owner of Big Foot could have used two parking spots and would have plenty of room to climb in and out of his behemoth without bothering anyone else. Yes, he would have had to walk an extra 20 or so feet to the store and back.

I suspect that he was probably a bit on the extra-large size himself and probably could have used the exercise but his mindset was that the size of his vehicle gave him the right to park wherever he wanted. I guess I was a little lucky that I didn’t park first or he might have rolled Big Foot right over the back of my little truck while I was in the store like they do in those weird monster truck car-crushing events.

Instead he must have slid into the passenger side of his truck, dug out his school composition book and, concentrating real hard with his tongue sticking out the side of his mouth, composed his colorful diatribe. As notes go it was a pretty long one, considering the subject matter. Then he got out of his truck, put the note in the back of mine, slid back in the passenger side of his truck and, oomph, over behind the steering wheel and left. The more I think about it he was probably really fat and panting with his mouth open and sweating all over the place by the time he finally got his truck started and backed out. At least, I hope so. Because the more discomfort you can cause these idiots, the better.

And they are all over the roadways. Center lines mean nothing to them. They will come straight at you head-on with a third of their vehicle in your lane expecting you to move. What I do is just slow almost to a stop and stay in my lane and lay on the horn. When they realize you aren’t moving they swerve out your way and look at you like you’re insane as they race by.

I used to pull over for these jerks but then I thought, hey, I could use a new truck. Let ‘em hit me. I’ve got my cell phone camera to capture the evidence that they were driving on my side of the road. So now I’m like, hit me man. I’ve got insurance. And I’m always a little disappointed when they suddenly crank their big SUVs or pickups back into their own lane.

And it happens EVERY time you drive these days. Someone is always going to be coming at you in your lane and usually they’ll be on a cell phone, grooming a dog or eating a plate lunch.

I don’t see the trend changing unless gas gets up to about ten bucks a gallon and these humongous vehicles go the way of the Model T. It’s not that I’m Green and want people driving more fuel efficient cars. It’s a free country. Sort of. It’s just that something happens when you put usually civil people into large trucks or SUVs. They suddenly think they own the world and carry around school composition books so they can let you know about it.

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