Are you ever sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic and then get behind a car that stops maybe 100 yards behind the car stopped ahead of him? I feel such anxiety when that happens to me. I want to shout, "It's called bumper-to-bumper traffic! Please drive up to the next bumper!" I am terrified that thirty cars will squeeze in between them causing me to be later than I already am.
I think I have a long-lost cousin that might be one of those drivers. I can't be sure but I'll tell you what happened when I told him to follow me to the freeway ramp.
"As soon as we get out of this neighborhood, we'll be turning left on to a busy boulevard. There will be four lanes with lots of hotels and shopping centers and restaurants along that street. "
He stands there listening to my every word, nodding and making hand gestures, convincing me he's got it memorized. "Once we get on that boulevard," I warn him, "we'll drive along for about a mile. Continue to follow me until we get to the first intersection, and at that light, I will wave to you, and turn right... but you just keep driving straight and that will take you directly to the highway."
He nods and repeats my directions back.
We pile into our cars. I wait for him to adjust his mirror. Put on his seatbelt. Turn on the heater and maybe adjust the radio dial waiting for his favorite song to come on. Finally he inches out away from the curb, braking a bit too hard at first, his head jerking toward the windshield... and eventually he begins to follow me.
We are only four houses away and we're clearly still in the neighborhood when I turn right heading for the busy boulevard when I notice in my rear view mirror that he thinks this must be his sign to keep driving straight. So he does!!!
Now I have to lasso him back in.
I do a quick turn around but it's not quick enough and I'm unsure where he went. I drive down the street and after about a minute, I think I might see him driving ahead of me. I don't want to speed through the neighborhood so I follow him until he gets to a stop sign and I catch up. I jump out and motion for him to turn around and follow me back into the neighborhood.
Startled to see me behind him, he finally understands what I am asking him to do and he swings into someone's driveway, backs up and he's following me once again.
Finally I get him onto the busy boulevard, but instead of going 35 mph, he is going more like 10 mph. He is about 100 yards behind me and even though I keep dropping my speed considerably, he is a long way off. More and more cars are passing him up and coming between us and I no longer can see him in my rear view mirror.
I drive through the green light but he doesn't make it, so I pull to the side of the busy boulevard and wait for him. (This is the intersection where I was supposed to turn right, but fearing it'll confuse him, I decide to stay on the boulevard and take him personally to the freeway ramp). About 3-5 minutes later, I can see his car crawling along the busy street, so I put my blinker on, believing he'll see me and let me in front of him so he can continue to follow my lead, but he doesn't recognize my green bug and doesn't let me in. He passes me by. Now I hafta wait for another few cars to pass before I can edge back in. Now I'm about six cars behind him and I need to figure out how to manuever my way around the traffic to get ahead of him again to show him the way to the freeway.
By the time I make it in front of him, I am just 50 yards from the freeway on-ramp. I put my blinker on to enter the ramp. Clearly, he can read the signs now and follow the directions but because he sees my blinker turning right to get on the ramp, he waves goodbye and honks To0OT! To0OoT! and continues on down the boulevard thinking I'm at the intersection I told him about earlier.
It is too late. I am now getting on the freeway toward his hometown and he is still slowly puttering along the boulevard happy and unaware of his mistake.
I hope this isn't the case, but I'm worried that he's still driving down that same boulevard. If you happen to see a blank expression on a man's face driving extra slow ... not reading any signs... perhaps sporting a beard now, please point him in the direction to the freeway. I think that might be my long lost cousin.