As I pulled up to the intersection in my relatively small and low-slung car, stopping just short of the crosswalk, I glanced to my left to see if the coast was clear enough to make a right turn on red.
But when I glanced left, I didn’t see a couple of cars barreling down on me. Nor did I see a completely empty street devoid of cars and pedestrians.
Instead, I was looking into the bottom door panel of a huge, white pickup truck, with my eyes essentially at crotch level of the driver, who as far as I know had absolutely no idea I was even there.
The truck driver had pulled the nose of his vehicle over the crosswalk; there were no pedestrians here, so I didn’t have a big problem with his positioning. It’s just that the size of his vehicle (or, depending on your perspective, the size of mine) kept me from seeing anything except shiny white paint.
I was content to sit and wait for the green light; something interesting was on KERA, and I wasn’t in a big hurry.
The guy behind me had other ideas, though.
He leaned on the horn a couple of times, clearly needing to be somewhere 30 seconds more quickly than he was going to with me blocking his way.
He also was driving a tall, jacked-up pickup truck, so he could see just fine through and over the truck on my left. Apparently, no one was approaching the intersection, so he thought I needed to get moving.
His leaning on the horn didn’t sit well with me. From his perch high in the sky overlooking the top of my car, he probably had no idea that I couldn’t see a thing and would be risking my insurance premium, not to mention the front of my car, by blindly pulling into the intersection.
For a moment, I thought about putting my car in park, popping out of the driver’s door and walking back to visit with my impatient neighbor as we waited for the light to change.
It was just a brief moment, though, because my thoughts also quickly turned dramatic: Maybe he legally carried a gun and might see my approach as threatening.
In fact, I could imagine the excitement at 6 and 10 as local newscasters talked about the meaningless shooting, with no one having any idea why a quiet, unassuming dude like me would block an intersection and threateningly approach another driver. Given the chance that I might not be around to explain my actions, I thought better of exiting the car.
So I just endured what I assumed was the angry glare of the driver behind me because I really couldn’t see much above the grill of his pickup.
The light mercifully turned green, and all three of us headed off to our respective destinations. The guy next to me probably was unaware. The guy behind me raced past me after we both turned. I continued on, wondering what else I could have done to make him understand I had no options.
There’s no lesson here that I can discern, nothing else I could have done to make things better, except perhaps to own a taller vehicle.
Maybe it was all just the product of a steaming, hot summer day in Dallas.