Joust! T-100 v. F-150 or Carpenter versus Carpenter

Both my peace and serenity were rudely shattered today at approximately 4:05 in the afternoon as my driver-side mirror exploded while passing an oncoming Ford on a West Asheville back street.  It was one of those Ford supertrucks.  The ones that come off the lot looking customized for extra badassedness.  They float just a little higher off their mighty wheels than other work trucks, and their mirrors extend just a little bit wider to each side.  It’s basically the truck design version of a cat with its back up.  Vanity trucks.  I’ve always admired them, and today they’ve risen another notch in my esteem.

Asheville is full of old neighborhoods with narrow streets and even narrower driveways, if you’re fortunate enough to have one.  Our neighborhood was laid out when families owned one car.  One skinny car.  Nowadays to venture forth in an automobile is to engage in an extended game of vehicular chicken.  I recommend driving around in Mexico as a confidence builder for this sport.  In Ada’s hometown of Matamoros, literally translated “kill the Moorish people,” stop signs and traffic signals are only hopeful suggestions.  The only truly respected code of the road warrior is: He Who Has the Biggest Cojones Has the Right of Way.

It’s taken me years of daily near collisions to see that our narrow streets are actually much wider than they appear.  The problem is that a healthy fear of bodily injury and insurance adjustors causes the road to shrink and our imagined personal envelopes to swell.  I try to counteract this warping of perspective by driving faster, which fosters both the improved ballistics of a given mass at greater velocity, as well as a grim disdain for approaching cars that slow and duck out of the way.  I can actually feel the road widening and my truck contracting as I lean on the pedal and tighten my eyes on the narrow space between oncoming and parked cars.  Also, driving an older model car that’s fully paid for helps tremendously.

I was in that focused, warping space filled with both the peace and tranquility of acceleration when my tight-to-truck side mirror smashed into that Ford stickout-showoff mirror and exploded two feet from my face, showering my beard with sound and fury.  My initial reaction says volumes about my general position on moral issues.  I thought, “my fault.”  The Ford driver was in full agreement, even though his superior vehicle had suffered exactly zero damage.  From the violence of my own truck’s reaction to the collision I feared the other vehicle would require towing assistance, but the vanity truck was unscathed.

A swarthy viking carpenter emerged from the other truck which advertised some bullshit green building contractor.  Something like Precious Earth Builders.  This guy had me beat on all counts: better looking, better marketing, better truck, unbroken mirror.  I said, “Well.  You won that joust.”

He replied with a grin and a dismissive, “Well.  I did have the right of way.”  As if it’s common knowledge and in the driver’s ed handbook that the side of the street with no cars parked is the side where drivers can crash into other cars without fault.  There shone his unblemished mirror as evidence to his claim.  For a second I actually agreed with him.  Thank you guilt-filling episcopal upbringing!  Thanks for keeping me on the hook when things go sideways.  Viking carpenter was already away in his sexy truck while I stood there in the street looking down at the broken remains of my mirror as if they were tea leaves, trying to read in them an answer to a question I couldn’t come up with.

Now I’m learning to drive without a side mirror.  The trick is remembering that it’s broken.  On the way home it was a bit like recovering from serious brain trauma.  I kept checking the mirror for lane changes and EVERY time was surprised that instead of useful reflected information there was just a gaping socket where some enterprising spider had spun its web.

Right of way my buttocks.  That guy just had bigger huevos.


17 responses to “Joust! T-100 v. F-150 or Carpenter versus Carpenter

  1. Dang, dude. I love the way you use the English language. You’re a heck of a story teller. Vehicular chicken. Vanity truck. Viking carpenter. Very alliterative in your descriptions today. Great phrases. Viking carpenter. I like Vikings, you know, and although you made him sound mean, I could picture him perfectly. My Viking never would have spoken with such ruthless swagger. 🙂
    Sorry about your mirror.

    • Thanks Julie! He wasn’t mean, just more alpha than me and I’m a little bitter. I equal parts wanted to: 1. hunt him down and bitch slap him and 2. slap him on his padded ass while he trotted out to score the winning touchdown and after the game challenge him to a beer shotgunning contest in hopes of winning his approval.

      • Actually I think he should be trying to win your approval. You don’t need a vanity truck, swarthy Viking looks, or a company named Precious Earth (loved that! lol) to shore up flagging confidence. I love the character of an older truck myself. Often says a lot about the character of the person inside. My sons drive a 15-yr-old GMC Yukon with a broken driver’s door and no muffler. Their huge grins as they roar around town say their self-esteem needs no Vanity truck prop. From my vantage point, you’re far more appealing in your T-100 than he is in his F-150. Even if he is a Viking.

  2. M – I lost a similar joust. I had driven my mom and one of her friends, Faye, to Baton Rouge. Faye’s son played football for WCU. That year Western willing went to LSU for an ass kicking for boat loads of money. The year before I had driven mom and Faye to Maryland and around DC before the game.

    As we were leaving LSU to go back to our hotel, the traffic out was crawling at 25 to 30 mph. Incoming traffic was progressing at a faster pace. Someone clipped the side mirror of Faye’s Surburban. I never saw what kind of car hit us. It was about 11 at night.

    I immediately did a lane check. I hadn’t crossed the center line, the other guy had. However unlike you and the Viking carpenter, the LSU driver kept going.

    • I feel you. That guy was probably so high on beers and victory he didn’t even notice the accident.

      I suppose technically I was in the wrong lane today and could have adjusted my speed to avoid passing the other truck next to the one car parked on Virginia Ave in that stretch. The call to joust was just too strong!

  3. Ahhhh, think of it as you and the green carpenter’s trucks throwing a massive high five or exploding fist bump to each other. The T100 just ended up with a hyperextended wrist. Brock and Brandon did this very thing while passing each other on Mayre St. one time….and only one time. Turns out that the force at the “What’s up dude” point of impact as two trucks intersect is 1,000,000 lbs/ft and not nearly worth the splattered palms and twisted elbows it produces.
    I bought a new side mirror for my truck on Ebay for about $38 and it was super easy to install.

    • I love the exploding fist bump! We were just giving truck love, and really I’m more amazed and entertained by the event than defeated. I’ll check ebay before screwing a block of wood into the socket and gluing an old piece of mirror to it. The only sadness is my growing list of little truck injuries that started this winter when i decapitated the driver’s side washer fluid sprayer while using an ancient shovel to scoop snow off the hood. Now I hit the fluid button and a geyser jets hopelessly into the air. Then I broke the horn during a rage event, and now I’ve taken out the mirror due to a lack of respect for Ford width. It’s making me nervous as the little damages creep closer and closer…

  4. Alas, in yon T-100’s earlier life the passenger side mirror suffered a similar fate in greater, down town Boyce when, while occupying my proper lane, I failed to notice that “some dude” had a piece of small lumber extending out the back of his P/U parked in his driveway just enough to reach the mirror.

    I had taken a detour to see what was left of the old road and town (really just delaying getting back to the orifice) and tooling along when I heard this minor explosion for no apparent reason when the mirror shattered.

    There was a guy at the house and we exchanged information but I just let it slide and purchased a new mirror.

    Now both sides are in balance and harmony.


      • I know. I’m tired of all the consolation these blogs deliver. I think on my next reply, I’ll go completely off the deep end with the amount of shame and accountability I’ll sow.

  5. This is perfect fodder for late night feeding sessions (Eva’s not necessarily mine…) Long live entertaining reading, albeit at the expense of your truck, various parts of your body, etc. I would never wish any of these things to happen but you weave it so well. Thanks for sharing!!

    • Thanks Susan! I’m happy to contribute to the child rearing experience and a broken side mirror is a small price for new material. Now you can be happy about the nonsense you’re missing on the streets while your trying to catch up on sleep or nurture Eva. That’s a great name- definitely on the short list for our imaginary children.

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