[A guest commentary and apocryphal tale from SB Jon and SB Pam (Gilead Road SBs) SB SM]
Two days ago Pam and I were going over to our friends’ house for dinner. A glorious summer evening during a season that’s been full of them. We were on a country road doing the speed limit of 45. Not much traffic. I checked a glint in my rear-view mirror to find an oversized red pickup truck screaming up behind me. Three feet from my bumper and approaching a curve, he made his move, crossing a double yellow line to pass. Two cars were coming the other way. The clock in my head told me that unless I braked, he would not have room to cut back in front of me. So I braked and he slid through the very narrow opening as the other cars passed by. I had never seen this truck or this driver until five seconds ago.
Then he slowed down! What the fuck? All at once a HUGE cloud of noxious black smoke belched out of a smokestack mounted on the bed of his pick-up, eye level. For a second or two, I couldn’t see, and though the windows were up, Pam and I were instantly gagging on the grit and the smell. The cloud dissipated but the smell is in my nose today. I had never experienced a
more egregious display of douchebaggery in my life. Pam and I took turns screaming what a complete and utter asshole this guy was. We even carried on a game we have been playing since trump ascended to the throne — if you could snap your fingers and make that guy disappear from the face of the earth, would you? He was a no-brainer. I added that I would also snap away his parents, friends and any women desperate enough to be with him. By the time the curve ended, we could barely see him. That’s how fast he was now going.
We reached our destination. As we recounted the story to our friends Peter and Lauren, he nodded his head, “Rolling coal.” WHAT? He went on to explain that this was a thing now, and showed us several You Tube
videos to prove it. Apparently mostly young, always white, always male truck owners have been outfitting their prides and joy with exhaust smokestacks in the bed. The bigger the better. Then on command they release incompletely fired diesel in billowing black plumes at the unsuspecting motorist behind them. How are their victims chosen? Could be a bumper sticker, the way you wear your hair, or just a psychotic break. But it’s likely the kind of car you drive. I have a very boring Honda, you know, a Japanese-made Honda. If you have the gall to drive an electric vehicle, look out.
These are eco-terrorists (not the Edward Abbey kind, but the really twisted kind) and they are coming for you. Like I said, it’s now a thing in America. Apparently they don’t like foreign cars or foreigners. Apparently they don’t like hybrid or electric cars. The evidence is, they don’t like cars at all. Real men drive trucks. They believe climate change is bullshit and build the most fuel-inefficient, pollution-spewing, noise-making vehicles possible to prove their bona fides to like-minded simpletons.
Nothing I’ve seen, done or read has more clearly epitomized for me the state of America than this encounter. And bear in mind that this happened in VERMONT, though it was perfected, of course, in Texas. Rolling coal is a rolling metaphor. Our hero will be strung out, in jail or dead within a few years, finger snap or not. But trumpism, with its attendant violence, ignorance, rage and white grievance, isn’t going away. It was always there, buried like the arsenic and cyanide crystals in the Great Salt Lake, but now the lake is dry, and the crystals are blowing in the wind, right in your face.
Like rolling coal.
from Wikipedia: In 2021, six bicyclists training for a road race were run over by a 16-year-old who was rolling coal along Business U.S. Highway 290 in Waller County, Texas, outside Houston. Two of the cyclists were injured severely enough to require medical evacuation by helicopter. The motorist, a teenaged boy, was not charged at the time of the accident; local cyclists’ groups were outraged. He was later charged with six felony counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.