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@treppenwitz avatar
UTC

saggezza di scala
2009 'Burma Shave' Red GTS 250ie
Joined: UTC
Posts: 7050
Location: Israel
 
saggezza di scala
@treppenwitz avatar
2009 'Burma Shave' Red GTS 250ie
Joined: UTC
Posts: 7050
Location: Israel
UTC quote
We have all encountered at least one of these on the road; someone who drives so erratically... so randomly... so counter-intuitively...so contrary to the etiquette and norms of the road... that they are likely to go their entire lives without getting so much as a nicked fender, but will almost certainly leave countless near-misses and wrecks in their wake.

During the many years I've been commuting the 160+ km (round trip) each day, I've become aware of a particular driver on the road.

This gentleman, who I'll call 'Slo Mo', because I found out (as will soon be made clear), that his first name is Moshe (Hebrew for Moses)... and because he drives sloooow. Most of the time, anyway.

Slo Mo is an older gentleman who must have been self-taught behind the wheel. I say this because when following him, the first thing one notices is that his speed swings constantly between 30% - 90% of the posted speed limit.

It isn't just that he accelerates to within spitting distance of the speed limit and then coasts for awhile. No, I know this isn't the case because his short bursts of speed are Immediately followed by the flash of brake lights and rapid deceleration.

Based on first-hand reports (from friends who have hitched rides with him), Slo Mo's nauseating speed fluctuations are caused by the fact that he drives his automatic European sedan with his right foot on the gas and his left foot on the brake, using the two pedals alternately, the way most manual transmission drivers use the gas and clutch ('Hey, two pedals...and two feet. Perfect!').

The first few times I encountered Slo Mo (I didn't know his name then), I thought he was being passive aggressive. He would slow up on even the mildest curves to the point that anyone following him would be forced to jam on their brakes. But once the road straightened out again, he would suddenly stamp on the gas, frustrating the timing and momentum of anyone trying to pass him.

I can honestly say that for several months I was convinced he was deliberately blocking attempts to pass him and was getting a power thrill from the resulting conga-line of cars and trucks (and even tractors) that would end up strung out behind him.

But after studying him for awhile (and seeing that he didn't even seem to notice me when I did succeed in passing him), I realized that he was simply oblivious to the affect his erratic driving was having on other drivers.

After nearly a year of encountering Slo Mo at various points in my commute, I set about trying to figure out his schedule and points of origin/destination so I could alter my own commute schedule and avoid him altogether.

What I finally figured out was that he was a resident of my own town... and he worked just north of the city where I earn my own living. But try as I might, I never seemed to manage to catch up with him inside my town... meaning, I couldn't figure out who he was.

So for several more months, he was just an annoyance in a known make/model of car, and a familiar profile (on the occasions when I managed to pass him) in the driver's side window.

Then one day I was setting out for work with a few of my carpool mates in the car, when I pulled over to offer a ride to a few people who were standing at a bus stop just south of my town. A familiar looking older gentleman nodded when I said I was going to Beer Sheva, but before he managed to get in I whispered to may carpool mates that we were about to meet the infamous Slo Mo in the flesh.

As we pulled away from the bus stop, I looked in the mirror at the man in the back seat (to make sure it was really him) and then said, "What happened to your car? Is it in the shop?".

He didn't seem surprised by the question, and answered in a booming tenor, "it's time for the scheduled maintenance and they didn't have a loaner for me".

I was sorely tempted to ask if it was because they knew he was murder on the brakes, but instead asked, "You're going down to the Omer High Tech Area, right?"

Now he was genuinely surprised. "How did you know that?", he asked.

I just smiled conspiratorially at my carpool mates and said, "There aren't that many of us who make the daily commute down south... I make it a habit of knowing who else is on the road with me."

He seemed to accept the explanation, and from there we all talked comfortably about random topics until it came time to drop him near his office. He thanked me for the ride, and I gave him my number in case his return commute coincided with ours.

I have to admit, as much as I wanted to really hate the guy for the way he drove, it was hard not to like him. His big booming voice was perhaps a little hard to take. But overall, he seemed a genuinely nice guy.

There was only one other time that Slo Mo ended up in my car. It was on a day between when he had to turn in his old company car, but before they had delivered his new one. Again on that occasion I enjoyed his company... but was genuinely stumped how someone who was so nice in a passenger seat could be such a clueless (and actually dangerous!) terror behind the wheel.

Since I've been commuting on my scooter this past year, Slo Mo has become less of a hazard, and more of a slalom obstacle.

Unless I encounter him on a truly blind curve, I find it easy enough to anticipate his random braking, and shoot past him. But I have to admit, occasionally I hang back to marvel at the magnificence of his dysfunctional driving.

However, once I notice a growing line of impatient drivers behind me, I simply make my move and zip on past into the open road ahead of him. In that respect, he's like a moving pick... ensuring that for at least the next few miles (if not the rest of my commute), I'll have the road to myself.

I'm not sure why I felt the need to tell you about Slo Mo today. Maybe it's because we all have our nemeses on the road. Maybe we meet them only once and (hopefully) live to tell the tale. And maybe we meet them over and over again, gaining an ulcer in the process... or simply a good story to tell.
@scootmom avatar
UTC

Molto Verboso
'09 BV250, '02 ET2 '07 LX150
Joined: UTC
Posts: 1006
Location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa
 
Molto Verboso
@scootmom avatar
'09 BV250, '02 ET2 '07 LX150
Joined: UTC
Posts: 1006
Location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa
UTC quote
Trepp,

You crack me up with your observations, grace, style, and literary wit!

Several times I have pulled up your stories to share with good friends, and they always enjoy them, too. (My favorite is still the young Shepard who lost his ass..donkey..., whatever),

This story brought back (not always fond) memories of my father and my father-in-law. Both drove with both feet and both made me insane because they saw nothing wrong with it! I wish I could say it was because they were old or oblivious, but at least one of them knew it made people insane and he rather enjoyed that.

Thank you for your story. I look forward to your entries. They always make me smile or laugh, and in today's environment, that's a precious thing.
@paperino avatar
UTC

Ossessionato
GTS 250 "Audrey"
Joined: UTC
Posts: 2117
Location: New Harbor, Maine
 
Ossessionato
@paperino avatar
GTS 250 "Audrey"
Joined: UTC
Posts: 2117
Location: New Harbor, Maine
UTC quote
Good story Trep.

Two things came to mind: 1- my father was a two-footer, and frequently replaced brake pads, 2- I wish I could find a video I once saw of an old couple who went about their day leaving wrecks and chaos in their wake, only to arrive home unscathed, oblivious, and finding it incredulous that their kids/friends should want them to give up driving. Scary and funny at the same time.
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