NinJedi — Trucker Road Rage Edition

Sam Cliff
4 min readMar 20, 2023

When you can see the look on their face they realize what they’re doing…

Background

Part of my lifestyle involves listening to copious amounts of stand up comedy, mostly blue or all the way over to the darkness. There’s much to learn about people and life and staying mentally on your toes. It’s noteworthy how comedy happens to be about timing, and being able to say something sharp and effective on the spot is a gift, a weapon, and a curse. Thanks in part to Daniel Tosh and Anthony Jeselnik for this, with honorable mention to Andy Woodhull (“cuz that’s how girls fight”).

Case in point…

Dropping the Hammer

When your soon-to-be-ex-wife cuts off financial means to worse than Jail Commissary style — $XX for gas, food, and guess what you get to sleep in the car instead of real shelter during winter — eventually the rental vehicle / housing gets a new character. Yes, it’s a rental CUV made by the Diamond Star group, and no, it’s not anywhere like my daily. Long story.

Minding my own beeswax driving North on 35W, an Alfa Romeo Giulia started picking up the pace from the 75 mph cruise in a 70 to 85. Then 90. Then we were doing just fine in the triple digits. Great day for a drive, it ain’t a race, it’s just a nice pace.

Yes for Minivans, SUVs, and Trucks, but for me…mostly…guidelines…

Sure, it takes some weaving and brakes here and there, but nothing I saw was dangerous or really that rude compared to left lane squatters and generally oblivious people probably on their phones. I don’t look at them when I’m passing at XX% higher velocity, the road is in front of me. Rear view mirrors are to double check no State Troopers hiding around on-ramps just passed.

Rolling fast and hard for a half dozen miles, we came up onto the bumper to bumper traffic choke that happens pretty quickly on 35 in Denton. We both have a clear shot in the right lane to brake late and just cool down, but an 18 wheeler Semi is signaling and basically just rams his nose into the lane. Not even close to making a change, he sees us coming up and wants to take the whole road for himself.

Both of us squeak by his nose, the Alfa in front of me — of course — and the trucker on my tail just laying into the horn full blast no stop. I’m not doing anything other than watch him flip me off as well in the rear view. Probably couldn’t fit a grocery cart between his bumper and my rear end. Classy.

Source: An actual news story (thank you Google lollerskates)

Soon I’m in the next lane over, he gets the right like he wanted. My windows are down and my music jamming, obviously, but he has to roll his down. What a surprise, a beard like a homeless ZZ Top impersonator, white as the shallowest area of the gene pool, with ridiculous mirror shades. Of course he starts talking shit.

“Think you’re funny? Punk!”

My turn. Oh, and with my camera phone just for a moment — enough to get his face and truck logo…

“Whatever dude, you gonna shoot me? Really? Whatever!”

Yes, when dismissive I talk like a Valley Girl / Surfer from Point Break…

Hard to hear what he said back over the music and putting away the phone, but he rolled forward while I was sitting still. My turn again.

“Have fun at your next truck stop fucking!”

He definitely heard that over the music.

He stopped his truck. In the right lane of 35 in Denton. Got out and started walking toward my car.

On the highway in the middle of rush hour traffic.

I stared at him through my windshield like Nikki Lauda at the Ferrari test in Rush and gave him the ultimate shrug.

“I’m in my car! What are you gonna do?”

At that point, seeing me do that and the probably 30 cars behind us watching the whole thing go down, maybe some with dash cams, he turned heel.

Got back in his truck, I didn’t move until his trailer was past my front bumper, and eventually others moved into play. I definitely backed off and people gave me space. Then I found the exit, snuck behind the “I can fight a car oh wait no” trucker by a couple vehicles, and peace out y’all.

So, in the grand scheme of things, again, being quick to react and do your best to manipulate the situation — like everybody else seeing the dude get out of his truck on the highway and not hear what was said — well, these techniques sometimes work out in our favor. On the other hand, I was definitely up against the buffer of if he had a gun he might have used it, but if that’s the way I go out, I’ll take it.

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Sam Cliff

Gonzo School of Journalism, BA & MA, Guitarist, OCTX, IG austin_on_guitar