May 13, 2006

Workin' the Teton Trail

Somewhere in the ramshackle badlands of western Nebraska, I passed an 18-wheeler with the words "Show Your Hooters" scrawled into the dust on the rear door of the trailer. Friends, take note: Whenever you see this sort of wash-me-esque message, don't automatically assume that the driver who happens to be pulling that trailer at that particular moment is the one who wrote it. Most of those trailers are shuffled around from tractor to tractor on a near-daily basis. Additionally, they may spend anywhere from a few days to a few weeks parked in company drop lots, customer drop lots, city streets, truck stops and the occasional shopping center or mall parking lot. In any number of locations, virtually anyone can leave a quick message. The driver might not even be aware of it. Even if he or she does know, they may not have had time to get rid of it. In the days following the unexpected death of race car driver Dale Earnhardt, I picked up a trailer on which someone had written "#3 Forever." Not wishing to make such a bold political statement, I tried to wash it off. All I succeeded in doing was brightening the letters-- setting them into sharper contrast with the baked-on, caked-on, gray-brown grime into which they'd been carved.

Also... ladies, in particular... please try not to be offended too much by overly blunt messages like "Show Me Your Tits" or "Be A Firt-- Lift Your Skirt." I agree wholeheartedly that these are heavy-handed, clumsy and lacking in imagination. (I did, once upon a time, see a relatively imaginative one: A smiling, good-looking young guy was rolling through Tennessee one day, pulling a trailer that sported the legend "Leg Check, 60 ft Ahead.") Blunt though they may be, however, most of them are meant in the spirit of (literally) passing flirtatiousness, nothing more, and shouldn't be taken too seriously.

So anyway... I passed this truck that had "Show Your Hooters" written on the back of the trailer. As I eased past him, I obliged. He didn't seem very impressed.

Nearly 200 miles later, I was roaring along through that pancake-flat topographical corridor once known to westerly-trudging pioneers as The Great Platte River Road. The day was warm and bright. I was listening to the ballgame, sipping a Coke and doing my best to mind my own damn business when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw the front end of a bright red car ease up next to me. Whomever it was had been doing about 85 (to my 75,) but had slowed down to match my speed when they'd pulled even with my driver's-side window.

I glanced over. It was a bright red Eclipse convertible. There was a woman behind the wheel, alone. As I said, it was a convertible and she was driving with the top down. She was also, uh, driving with the top down, if you know what I mean. In other words, although the day was warm, it had suddenly become very nipply out there. A Very Nice Set of... second base bags, if you'll excuse me using technical jargon. Needless to say, I did a double-take-- in more ways than one.

She was looking straight ahead, eyes on the road. You've got to admire a woman who can give you a gratuitous gander at her Chi-Chis and simultaneously maintain proper lane position. So, admire her I did... for two or three long seconds.

But because I'm a professional, I didn't dally too long before checking the road myself. Yep, it was still there. And surprisingly, I was still on it. We were rushing along a straight, flat stretch of Interstate 80, somewhere west of Lexington, Nebraska, and there wasn't another car or truck for a good long mile-- neither in front of us nor behind us.

So, I looked at her again. Wouldn't you? If I told you I locked eyes with her at that moment, I'd be lying through my teeth... and you'd probably know it, too. I was aware, however, that she was now looking at me. Her expression was eerily deadpan. She wasn't smiling, she wasn't frowning, she was just looking. Having ascertained that I had, indeed, gotten an eye-full, she accelerated smoothly away. I guess she had more matter-of-fact goodwill to spread further down the highway.

I mentally shrugged, turned up the radio and tried not to over-think the incident. About 50 miles further on, I thundered past one of Nebraska's small but frequent rest areas. I really wasn't on the lookout, but that red convertible was hard to miss. It was sitting in the rest area parking lot. She wasn't in it. I churned on past and kept pushing toward Omaha. I never saw her again... but I did spend the next hundred miles or so checking my mirror much more often than usual.

Oh, and when I stopped, I checked the back of my trailer for messages. There weren't any.

The Grand Teton mountains of western Wyoming get their name from the French fur-traders who first explored the area.* They called the mountains, "Le Grande Tetons," because, uh, well, because they were French. In English the name means, "The Big Tits."

*Last week, I said that French fur-traders were the first to settle the site of present-day Chicago. That was true, even in the strictest sense: No area Native American tribe ever lived on the site until after European explorer/settlers did. This week's similar claim regarding western Wyoming is not strictly true. Obviously, tribes native to that area had explored it quite thoroughly, long before the fur-traders ever came along.

P.S... Bud "Wishin' and Washin'" Selig must go.

1 comment:

One F said...

Maybe she was just fur trading?

After reading this story I would have started witha "I never thought this would happen to me . . . "