When had I gotten behind the truck? I couldn't remember. One moment I was sailing along the rural two-lane road, and the next, there it was. A semi.
I tried to curb my impatience and remember that wherever that driver was going was at least as important as my own destination, perhaps even more so.
As the truck went ever more slowly, my patience evaporated. I wondered if I'd ever get home.
Several intersections went by, and at each one I hoped the driver would turn, but he didn't.
After what felt like many miles, but was probably no more than two, I had to consciously unclench my hands from the steering wheel. I could feel my frustration growing. Was this road rage? If I had been driving a newer car, I could have passed him many times. I could have been home already!
My old four-cylinder pickup truck didn't have the vitality, but I vowed to pass the truck at the next opportunity anyway.
Just as I made this decision, the tractor-trailer rig braked. Then his left turn signal came on.
What good fortune! He'd turn and I'd be free.
We came to a stop and I waited for him to turn. He didn't.
His turn signal went off, and he started going again, straight ahead!
What gives? I thought, what kind of idiot stops for no good reason in the middle of the road and then goes on?
That's when I saw the other car. I had no idea there was a slow car in front of the rig. There it was, clear as day, turning left in front of the semi.
Now with a clear road ahead, the semi made good time, and I didn't feel slowed down at all.
Later I thought about what had happened. Why had the semi's driver indicated a turn when he had no intention of turning?
Then it struck me: I'd been ready to pass. When the rig slowed down because the car in front of him was turning, I might have sped around - and perhaps hit the turning car.
The truck driver's alertness may have saved my life. I try to remember him every time I feel impatient on the road. When road rage creeps in, the memory of that left-turn signal eases my nerves.