At a time when the Twittersphere is still exploding with Me Toos and my FaceBook thread has also had a meltdown with stories about sexual abuse and harassment, I have been reminded of far too many of my own history of abuses, both achieved and attempted, over my long life. Men in positions of power, trust, authority. From senior military officers, men with wives and young kids, to men I deeply admired who turned on me for sex after gaining my trust. Family friends, people I considered mentors, father figures.
The list goes on forever, including men in my own family.
However I have an alternate story to add to this mix. One of heroism on the road. This happened in the mid-1980s, on a long, lonely stretch of Interstate 80 towards Reno, long before cell phones, where a girl was driving her little Ford truck/camper from Denver to California on a late Sunday afternoon. I was headed to Mount Shasta to camp for a few days.
There weren’t many of us on the road that day. A few big semis, myself, and then, suddenly, some lugnut in a big souped-up truck.
He roared up next to me and started gesturing. Shouting.
I ignored him.
He hit the accelerator and blasted ahead, slipped back, gesticulated, shouted. Did this over and over.
I continued to ignore him.
Then he took off at extreme speed and disappeared into the far distance.
Just as I was beginning to think he was history, I passed him by the side of the road, leaning on his truck door.
Pants open, holding his dick, pointing it at me as I drove by.
Then he leapt in his truck and came after me again.
NOW I was genuinely terrified. I could hear his powerful engine as it gained on my little Ford truck. We were miles from the California border and the afternoon was waning. I had no way to call the cops. This guy was not to be denied.
However the two truckers had been paying close attention to this little drama.
Slip on in Here, Young Lady
As I sped up to pass the first one, the driver honked at me, gestured, and eased back to create a space for me to slip in between his truck and his partner’s. As the nutcase bore down on me at speed, I slid my tiny truck into that safe spot. The huge semi came up close to hug my bumper.
I was now safely sandwiched between two enormous semi trucks. These two drivers were not going to let this evil bastard have his way.
Not on your life.
The lugnut pulled up next to me, screamed and shouted his frustration, revved his engine, and finally drove off.
I wept in gratitude.
A Road Train across Nevada
Our little road train traveled together into the sunset and into the night to the next road stop. I got out on wobbly legs. The three of us got introduced, and then had dinner together. I remember that conversation like it was yesterday. As it turned out these two men, like me, were Vietnam veterans. We talked for hours. Then I snugged my little Ford between their semis, safe and sound, for a good night’s sleep. I have rarely felt so protected.
Those men may well have saved my life that afternoon in Nevada. They certainly saved my skin.
Against all the Weinsteins of the world, I had to share a story about the good guys. They’re out there, among the jerks and the jerkoffs and slimebags who give good men a very bad name.
Wherever you are, Thank You.
I will never forget.