I’m moseying through California’s Central Valley to winter in the warmth of the Sonoran Desert. A friend has caught up to ride with me for a bit and we’ve enjoyed sharing a lane for a couple of hundred miles when he waves. We split off in opposite directions. I settle into a solo space and kind of zone out as I set my sights on Mexico.
Traveling in the fast lane, I’ve managed to find a sweet spot where there’s no traffic and I’m cooking along at a comfortable pace when all of a sudden there’s a car on my left, in my lane right next to me! I never even saw it coming up from behind but there it is… in my lane. She’s not really there very long since she’s flying at well over 100 mph but she’s right next to me! In my lane! I could have touched her car! As she flies by she goes off onto the shoulder, weaving erratically. She straddles the zip strip for a few seconds then her right-side tires are bouncing along the ruts so she steers hard to get off the noisy surface, which sends her back into my lane. She veers across the lane in front of me, crosses the center paint and goes into the right lane before she countersteers. I swerve to miss her and hit the far right lane, giving her a wide berth. Thank the Lord above there wasn’t a car beside us.
I notice a banner across the back of her car as she disappears into the horizon and it takes me a few minutes to collect myself before I decide I’m going to get a photo of the license plate because this chick is dangerous! I want a record in case she ends up hurting someone. I have to literally haul ass to catch up and I’m afraid to get too close because she’s still swerving all over the road, straddling the center dashes mostly, but the truck traffic slows her down so I creep up behind. There wasn’t a license plate, instead a paper sticker is taped in the back window. The banner across the back of the trunk says “LegalShield” and lists a 402 area code with phone number.
I stop to get gas and to calm down at the next exit and a car pulls up next to me. The young driver jumps out waving his arms in excitement. “I saw that whole thing! I thought she was going to run over you! Oh my God! Are you all right? That woman’s crazy! She flew past me doing 120 mph at least! We should call the cops!”
We spend a few minutes rehashing the ordeal as we fill our tanks and he shares that he’s from Oregon on his way down to Arizona to visit family. We swap war stories about California drivers and road rage experiences.
When I pulled off later that night I called the number on the banner. A giggly lady answered and I asked if she was with LegalShield. She tells me yes, she is a representative for them before I ask if she had been traveling l-5 earlier in the day. She gets all bubbly and cheerfully says yes, then proceeds to tell me she’s excited to get to see her old friends. She’s come down to see folks she hasn’t seen since high school and she’s so thrilled she can’t stand herself. I proceed to explain that she almost killed me.
“Oh, wow. I’m sorry. How can I make it up to you?” she asks nonchalantly, as if she’s apologizing for missing my birthday and suggests we go eat cake as amends.
I’m flabbergasted. “Really? Make it up to me? Lady, seriously, you are a scary driver! You almost ran over me, do you get that?” The voice on the other end just keeps say she’s sorry but with no genuine concern. She doesn’t ask what I’m talking about or inquire to any particulars, so I get the impression she knows she’s a shitty driver, which serves to infuriate me.
“Know what you can do? You can stay the f**k off the highway, that’s what you can do!” I shriek. “You’re a menace! You’re dangerous and you’re going to kill somebody!”
I try not to sound like the raving maniac I’m fighting hard to contain but I can’t help but believe that she just doesn’t realize what her three-ton cage could do to an 800-pound bike and rider.
“Just pay attention to what the hell you’re doing!” I blurt out.
“Oh, OK. I will. I’m sorry.” And suddenly I realize that nothing I can say will make any difference in the way she careens along through her 4-wheeled clueless life. God help us all.