I saw the truck driver get out of his truck and slowly start to walk back along the trailer… towards MY car. ‘Crap,’ I thought. Now, I try not to stereotype people. However, there are times my brain cannot help it. So, imagine the stereotypical truck driver: truckers’ cap, long hair, long beard, jeans, plaid shirt, sleeveless denim jacket, and a frown. On top of all of that, imagine that his nickname is ‘Bubba’. Yeup, that’s who was slowly approaching my car. I said, “Alfalfa, you may have to protect me…” truly meaning what I said.
The truck driver walked my driver’s window and knocked. I was scared to death. I didn’t know this guy and it looked like he was someone that I didn’t want to know. My first instinct was to pretend that I didn’t see him. But that wouldn’t work…my windshield was glass and obviously I had watched him walk up to my car… Next, I thought, just pretend I had fallen asleep…narcolepsy. But that wouldn’t work because my eyes were open and I was staring back at this guy in obvious terror.
Finally, I rolled down the window enough to speak to the truck driver, “Yes sir?” I asked.
“Excuse me ma’am,” came a deep voice, “do you happen to know who was doing all of that honking?”
“Uhmmm,” I said. Now, at this point I was in a moral dilemma. I soooo wanted to rat out the mad honking horn idiot in the car two behind me. If I did, would I be responsible for what the truck driver did to him? Huh. But, perhaps, if I ratted him out and then called 9-1-1 right after, the idiot would get taught a lesson…then the cops would save the day. Their timely arrival would be a true miracle for sure! Hmmmn… Or, I could say nothing and start speaking in tongues…like I was crazy. That seemed the best idea. What to do…
Alfalfa saved me. Three long wheeks came from his carrier: “WHEEEEEEK! WHEEEEEEK! WHEEEEEEK!” He gave me an excuse to change the subject.
“Well,” I said with a bit of a nervous giggle, “If that’s what you are hearing it just my guinea pig complaining to me…he’s a bit spoiled…he’s not used to traveling…so…he’s been complaining….I didn’t realize he was that loud…*giggle*…yeah, loud…” I finally caught myself and stopped my nervous babbling.
“Guinea pig?” the truck driver asked leaning in. He then added, “I love guinea pigs… Can I, well, if it’s not inconvenient to you, see him?”
“Really? You want to see him?” I asked a bit taken aback by the request. Who was this guy?
“I love animals,” he explained in his deep tone, “I’ve got three cats at home with the wife and kids…I think I miss them the most…” The truck driver frowned looked down at his feet.
“Ok,” I said, “But he bites so I’m sorry to say you can’t hold him.” The truck driver looked up at me, smiled, and nodded.
I reached over and picked up Alfalfa’s carrier from the foot well and placed it on the passenger seat. I opened the door and Alfalfa dug in to his blanket. I scooped up Alfalfa with him still lost in his blanket.
I sat the bundle on my lap and opened it up to reveal my baby. I heard the truck driver take a sharp inhale of breath and sigh, “He’s beautiful…” I rolled down the window all the way to give the driver a better view of Alfalfa.
“What do you think?” I asked both the driver and Alfalfa.
“He’s so cool looking…look at that face…and his color…WOW!” was the driver’s response.
“Yeah,” I sighed, “he’s my baby.” I lifted Alfalfa out of my lap and held him in the cradle of my arm placing it on the door frame. “You can gently pet his head…” I said, then blurted, “if you want.”
“Really?” the truck driver asked and reached out with this bear like hands. He scratched the top of Alfalfa’s head very gently. Alfalfa’s eyes started to close.
Moments passed in blissful silence. A BEEEEEEEEEEEEP! BEEEEEEEEEEEEP! BEEEEEEEEEEEEP! broke the silence and calm of the moment. I jumped, Alfalfa jumped, and the truck driver jumped. “It’s not me!” was all I could get out as Alfalfa attempted to make it back into his carrier across the car with my arm attached.
“Mmmmmmnnnnnnn…” was all I heard from the truck driver as he stood up. He hitched up his pants and began to walk back to the crazy idiot with the horn. I got Alfalfa resettled in his carrier. Then, I looked in the rear-view mirror to see that truck driver was just making it back to the idiot’s car.
I grabbed my phone and seriously wondered if I should just start dialing 9-1-1. No, I’d wait. Besides, he was nice to Alfalfa. Did that mean he was a nice guy? On the other hand, he was a cat lover. That fact alone made me suspicious of him.
The truck driver approached the car and I watched for a fight with phone in hand. He simply and calmly asked the guy to stop honking and be patient. The crazed driver was hearing nothing of it. I heard the ‘F’, ‘B’, ‘D’, ‘A’, ‘Z’ and ‘Q’ words float through the air and finally assault my ears. The truck driver would not be goaded into a fight. He simply kept his voice calm and level, polite as ever. Finishing his self-appointed task, the driver tipped his hat to the crazy man and walked back towards his truck.
As the truck driver passed my car he tipped his hat at me, “Ma’am,” he said.
I couldn’t help myself. I leaned out my window and yelled, “Thank you!” The truck driver turned and said, “Keep that little guy happy. OK?”
“Sure,” I replied a bit dumbstruck by the whole situation.
He turned, walked back up to his truck, got in, and proceeded through the toll.
When, I got up to the booth the collector asked, “What was that all about?”
“Well,” I struggled to get the words, “I’m not sure.” I smiled. “I think my guinea pig just saved a life…” The toll both guy gave me my change and simply nodded. “Have a good day,” I said as I drove off.
Life. You never know what curves it will throw you…