I Hate Going Windsurfing

Saving the soul as well as gas
I'd like a commute like Tim Carter's in Hilton Head. Five minutes to windsurfing by bike.

I hate going windsurfing. I really do.

Don't get me wrong. I love windsurfing. It's the going part that I hate. There are times that I feel like I'm a character in a Greek or Shakespearean tragedy. The fates, mankind and nature all align against me - impeding my progress, throwing road blocks in my way or having me brave evil ogres and dangerous villains. There are days that by the time I get to the lake, I'm so taxed and exhausted that it's almost difficult for me to enjoy my time on the water.

Ideally, I'd enter a tranquil and meditative state while on the road but I'm simply not that strong. While I begin every trip with good intentions, my resolve and strength ebb under the repeated attacks to my psyche and safety. I drive an older, slower car and pull another 1000 lbs of trailer and gear behind me. I can maintain a steady speed but I need space to brake and change lanes; and acceleration up hills is non-existent. Most of the several hundred thousand cars and trucks on the highway with me are respectful, patient and attentive. I tip my hat to all of them.

But, there are malevolent forces that conspire against my happiness. Here are a few from the Rogues' Gallery:

Bayerische Motoren Werke

Let's begin with the easy target: this fine German company makes some of the world's finer cars, without question. But the people who drive BMWs have acquired a reputation and deservedly so. My last encounter with a maniac on I-85 returning from an afternoon session (no, I'm not making this up) was a BMW hurtling through the Peach Pass (Hot) lane under Spaghetti Junction at rush hour probably doing excess of 110 mph. This car wasn't going fast, annoying fast or even asshat fast but carnage fast where you genuinely fear for people's lives.

No surprise, it's a Bimmer
Does any part of this really surprise you?

I have some friends that feel that BMW dealers give prospective buyers the same sort of psychological tests that are given to astronauts, pilots and train engineers. However, rather than pass, you must fail the test to acquire a car. Others disagree and believe the brand simply attracts d-bag drivers the same way that mullets flock to a Chevy pickup. Whatever the process, the result is the same: BMW drivers are among the most frustrating. The NY Times devoted a recent article about it:

Jokes about BMW drivers being, on average, somewhat less than courteous are fairly common. They often run along the lines of, “Despite its good brakes, a BMW will usually stop with a jerk.” Sometimes the language is more colorful.


Now scientific research supports the unwritten and broadly circulated theory that people in BMWs are lacking in road manners.

For my friends that have BMWs: Is there any way you could have a chat with your fellow car owners? The rest of us would appreciate it.

Carolina Australis

I've had the occasion to drive quite a bit in South Carolina the past year. After my experiences with SC plates in Atlanta, I was shocked. The SC driver on his (her) native I-20 or I-26 is daringly fast. I think I've seen cars going slower and more spaced out on the back straight at Talledega.

I-26 near Summerville, SC
I think this is I-26 near Summerville, SC. Not sure, maybe near Orangeburg.

Yet, these same drivers once past Covington or Buford on the way to Atlanta enter a strange twilight zone. They are still in the left lane like at home but somehow neither they, nor their cars, can even approach either the speed limit or the speed of the cars around them. Had I not observed them in their native habitat, I would have said they all drive like Mr. Magoo.

SC driver hurtling up GA 400 near the speed of 50
SC driver headed up GA 400 at almost a crazy 50 mph.

It's okay with me if they don't drive 85 mph on the Connector - anything faster than a farm combine works for me.

Parallel Parking at 65 mph

Okay, kids. Let's do the math. At 65 mph, you are moving at almost 100 ft per second. Human reaction time is generally around a half of a second for someone paying attention. In other words, at this speed, you will have travelled 50 feet - about three car lengths - before your brain even begins to perceive or react to something ahead. The more cautious of us try to allow for that by leaving space ahead of us. Not Granny from South GA space - a football field length at 45 mph on the Connector at 4pm - but enough that I feel like I can slow my van plus trailer down if something bad happens ahead. Invariably, there are people who feel I don't need that space. This past week on the way to Lake Lanier, someone took that to a new level.

Traffic was compressing climbing up 85 towards Duluth on the way to Van Pugh. I "may have" been closer to the car ahead of me than usual trying to maintain momentum up a long hill. I hesitated backing off too much or my poor van would have to downshift in an attempt to claw up the hill. . Both the car in front and I were one lane over from the far right, to allow traffic to merge.

Then it happened: parallel parking at 65. A car slipped in between me and the car in front with what seemed the space that you usually reserve for parking on an intown street. This wasn't tailgating. This was asking to send three cars and a trailer spinning if someone as much as sneezed.

Someone sneezed
Someone sneezed.

If you do this, seriously, as they say in censored movies, "forget" you.

Cell Replication
Cell driving

More seriously "forget" you. I can tell you are on the phone. You are driving like shite, oblivious to the traffic around you. Yes, I was wrong about you once - you were putting on makeup AND talking on your cell.

Head right, gramps.

Despite signs, laws, more laws, the word isn't getting out. Slow drivers in the left lane disturb the flow of traffic. More than a few times, traffic will feel weird with surges up and down in speed, brake lights coming on where they shouldn't and after a few miles you find the culprit. I do have some sympathy on many of these drivers as they are often snowbird retirees driving between Ohio or Ontario and Florida. Atlanta traffic is like Gomorrah to them.

Left lane bandits
If you are having trouble with the concept of the left lane, consult the image below:

Unclear about which lane to use?

I'll stay off your lawn, gramps, if you stay out of the left lane.

The least used automotive device

Hands down: the turn signal.

I'm happy to let you in, move over, whatever. Just tell me before you do it so my 4000 lbs of vehicle and trailer don't end up your shorts.

Standard on your car
You aren't a special snowflake and neither is your car.
I assume by your lack of turn signal
The internet agrees with me.
"Forget" you, Google
Atlanta to Avon, NC Google Maps

Nine hours twenty five minutes? Well, I guess Google servers don't have to stop to pee, eat or get gas.

Max going to Avon
Possibly one of the few people capable of making the drive to OBX that fast.
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Randy's picture
Randy
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Joined: 05/05/2002 - 10:38
Posts: 4170
Re: I Hate Going Windsurfing

This was a tour de force Mr. Arrongantj. Driving to the lake sometimes is a buzzkill, right when you least need it.

I thought the use of turn signals was outlawed here for the first ten years I lived in GA, until I found out that they are legal but nobody uses them.

And please don't forget my personal favorites pickup truck drivers who tailgate me (and my rule is if you I can see you in my rear vie mirror you are tailgating). Truly annoying are the maniacs who drive faster than me and the idiots who are driving slower than me. As for the right hand lane - I maintain I have the right to drive in any lane I want so long as I'm driving the speed limit, or a little above it. Still I do get out of the way for maniacs since I want them to get as quickly as possible to their date with the afterlife and don't want to give them the pleasure of passing me on the right.

What happens in a black hole stays in a black hole.

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windlord
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Joined: 02/07/2002 - 10:05
Posts: 762
Re: I Hate Going Windsurfing

Great article. On the bright side, you only have to make the drive when it's windy, and then you have the reward of going windsurfing. Think of all the folks that do it every day just to get to work.

Bill Herderich

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webguy
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Joined: 12/31/2000 - 22:01
Posts: 11208
Re: I Hate Going Windsurfing

Hundreds of drivers ticketed under new “Slow Poke Law” -ajc.com

http://www.ajc.com/news/news/national/hundreds-drivers-ticketed-under-new-slow-poke-law/nmJNn/

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Randy
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Joined: 05/05/2002 - 10:38
Posts: 4170
Re: I Hate Going Windsurfing

Just to clarify, here'e the problem with the idiotic slow poke law. It prevents you from ever driving the speed limit. If you do in "fast lane' maniacs will line behind you and you get a ticket for impeding their well deserved rush to oblivion. So you go the "slow lane" and there's and idiots in front of you will be driving 50 - literally raising your blood pressure to nearly fatal levels. So this law really rewards the worst drivers while putting you own life at risk due to hypertension.

What happens in a black hole stays in a black hole.

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arrogantj
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Joined: 01/24/2012 - 14:11
Posts: 1023
Re: I Hate Going Windsurfing

Appropriate pic:

IMAGE(<a href="http://i.imgur.com/WhPMFgV.jpg" rel="nofollow">http://i.imgur.com/WhPMFgV.jpg</a>)

--- The Arrogant Jerk: Crabby and irritable since 1998.

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