Sunglasses in the Road (and the violence they caused)

Salt Lake City, UT – 1998

One day Jen and I were driving to Taco Bell for lunch. It was around one in the afternoon and it was a beautiful day. Was had the windows down and the music up, the wind in our hair and the sun on our arms.

Through some act of negligence, Jen accidentally dropped her sunglasses out of the car window. They landed near the shoulder in the right lane. Traffic was light so she asked me if I  would turn around and get them. I grudgingly agreed.

I made a U turn and went back up the road several hundred yards. I made the second U and pulled over to the right shoulder. I could see her sunglasses several steps into the nearest lane.

As I stepped out into the street a truck appeared on the horizon. I heard its engine accelerate as soon as it saw me. It was more than a hundred yards out so I hurriedly picked up the glasses and headed back to the car. As the truck approached it veered toward me purposefully and the passenger yelled something like “freak!” or “faggot!” or something of the like. I saw red instantly, ran to my car and jumped in.

The truck was a work truck – landscaping – pulling a trailer full of lawn mowers and hedgers. It had stopped about a hundred yards in front of us at the light in the left turn lane. I raced to the light and screeched up next to them.

“What the fuck did you say??” I screamed at the two men in the truck who now turned a startled gaze at me. They were two sweaty hicks, both shirtless, one with a “No Fear” or “Bad Boy” tattoo, I cannot remember which. The driver was game and yelled back, “Fuck you, that’s what I said!”

I screamed back in a rage something about how I’d beat the shit out of them. He yanked up his emergency brake and got out of the truck.

Before I could get my seatbelt off he ran around the car and threw a punch through my open window. I raised my arm to block it and felt him connect with the tip of my elbow with full power. I heard and felt his hand break and he immediately jerked it back into a protective position. I realized he was hurt and I was fine and moved immediately to establish dominance.

I kept a ball peen hammer in the console of my car to use as a weapon in just such occasions. I grabbed it and with two feet kicked the door of my car open in a way that it cleared my opponent and gave me room to exit the vehicle. I took three or four great swings at the man only glancing him superficially in the clavicle region.

Suddenly I felt strong arms snatch me up in a bear hug from behind. It was the motorist from the car behind me. “Stop stop stop!” He yelled, “I saw him hit you first, let’s just call the cops!” My opponent ran back to his truck and jumped in.

By this time I realized the scene we were making. Traffic was five or six cars deep across three lanes, and there was a whole line of cars waiting to turn left behind the truck that was sitting idly as the driver fought in the street with some punk teenager who was wielding a hammer. Several people were honking and several others stood outside their car doors waiting to assist in the intervention. The man let me go and repeated something about calling the cops.

I jumped back in my car and raced through the light. I took a long way to Taco Bell to try to shake anyone who might follow me to make a police report.

It took me several hours to calm down, but eventually i did. I can’t count how many days I ruined for myself with needless hostility.

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2 thoughts on “Sunglasses in the Road (and the violence they caused)

  1. Pingback: Hicks at the Grocery Store | Matthew J. Summers

  2. Pingback: Autobiography | Matthew J. Summers

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