Call it drive-by boycotting
I saw the truck in my rearview mirror when he was still pretty far behind me, weaving in and out of traffic. It was morning rush hour and we were all heading upvalley. I was over in the slow-moving left lane with the rest of the semi-law-abiding, fuel-wasting single-occupancy drivers.The pickup truck was all over the road, changing lanes, cutting people off, forcing his way into whichever lane was moving faster.When he finally passed me – slipping into the left lane behind me for a moment, then darting out into an opening in the HOV lane, cutting off a RFTA bus to zip by me – I could see two things.First, he was all alone in his truck. That didn’t surprise me. A lot of people violate the HOV rules, and a lot of them are rude, reckless drivers like this guy.Second, he had the name of his contracting company painted on the door of his truck.I’m not going to tell you the name of that company – as Highway 82 raging-jerk construction-industry pickup drivers go, he was really just about average. But it did make me wonder, yet again, about people who paint the names of their businesses on their trucks and then head off to drive like idiots and make enemies.Think about that for a moment. You’ve got a big sign on your truck that tells the world exactly who you are. And then you go out and behave in a way that makes people hate you. This is not good advertising.OK, I know. I put my name and my photo on this column and then write things that make people hate me. Good point. But writing this column and making people hate me is part of my job. That’s not true of the people I’m talking about. Driving like idiots is not their job – it’s just their hobby.And, by the way, it’s not only the driving that makes enemies.There’s one company that seems to specialize in operating beat-up old trucks that putter along 10 mph under the speed limit, belching out huge clouds of evil black smoke.And there are a couple of excavation companies whose trucks are always peppering everyone behind them with gravel.So, I’m keeping a list of companies I will never do business with because of the way their vehicles behave on the highway.Sadly, I have to say that most of them are major construction companies, so unless I go into the development business, I probably won’t have the chance to boycott them. Still, it’s the thought that counts.And it’s not always the big guys. Just this morning, I got caught behind a massage therapist who was driving 5 mph under the limit in the left lane, holding up a line of cars. I know who she is and what she does because her name was painted on the side of her SUV. I will never trust my body to that woman’s care, both because I hate the way she drives – and because anyone that oblivious might twist your head off without noticing it.Lately, I’ve expanded my personal boycott list a little. Stick with me here, there is an automotive connection.The connection is my car radio. When I’m driving – and not screaming obscenities at the jerk who just cut me off – I listen to the radio. In the afternoon, I often find myself listening to the Gas Bags of the Right. I know it’s not healthy, but I do hate those people. I think Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly and company are more of a threat to the United States of America than Osama bin Laden.Now, I can’t hold a grudge against everyone who advertises on their shows. Advertisers don’t always know who they’re getting.But when I hear an ad that is presented by one of the Evil Gas Bags themselves – when I hear Sean Hannity read an ad for Proflowers.com – I swear an oath never to patronize that company, because I know they have gone out of their way, they have paid extra, to support that vile bully.And if anyone disagrees with me on that … by golly, I’ll run them over in my pickup truck.Andy Stone is former editor of The Aspen Times. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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I, and so many people, are exhausted by the fear-mongering over the future of Aspen. You can’t open a newspaper in a Colorado ski town without reading headlines about labor shortages and overcrowding.