Concerning Senior Citizens and Motion

7 06 2006

I wrote this a long time ago, just found it. I think its amusing and insightful. Others will find it distasteful and offensive. Whatever.

Maybe I was born with a steering wheel in my hand, or maybe it was my mothers lost diaphragm, but either way I do a lot of automobile driving. I think that maybe I drive 98ore then the average person, and I have at least over 4000 hours more drive time then the same average person. This average person doesn’t have a car though, so who am I to brag?

During my lengthy and intense driving sessions, I have come to notice several things. First and foremost, nobody is as good a driver as me. NOBODY. Secondly, those people that do show some promising potential as drivers almost never drive within 30 miles of me. Thirdly, people on bicycles that think they are in cars deserve to be hit. And fourthly, old people really do drive slow, but thats not the half of it. Old people, and by old I mean anybody with gray hair, or if you want to get technical, anybody that qualifies to join the AARP, traverse slowly. Yes, that sentence is grammatically correct.

I believe I will focus on old people now, since I am still writing about them. When I say traverse, I mean move, displace themselves, or travel. When old people move, they tend to do it more slowly then the rest of the young population. Thats understandable, since they are elderly and all. Their neurons dont fire as fast as they used to, or so Im told. But why is it that just because seniors are forced to transport themselves slower, why must we, the young citizens, be held up in their snail trail?
Consider this: When I am in a hurry, there is an old person slowing me down. When I am not in a hurry, an old person slows me down. When Im going slow on purpose to avoid getting to an unpleasant destination, an old person is slowing me down so badly that I must go around him or her.

While driving, I have lots of time to classify these old people. I have laid out these classifications as accurately as possible so that in the event you encounter an old person, you will know what to do, if inclined, to save time and avoid flipping off grandpa. I have used the term senior to save myself from saying old man/woman, which is creepy if you think about it.

1. Senior in a pickup truck. These seniors are generally men wearing hats, whether it be baseball style or cowboy. Of course I dont mean they are Men Wearing Hats doing the Safety Dance, but rather they are men that happen to be wearing hats. They are driving old, beat up, dirty Nissans, Chevys, or Mazda trucks. They tend to stay in the middle lane or right lane, and the look on their face seems to suggest they are totally oblivious to the rest of the world, and perhaps they believe they are on a country road somewhere. The harsh reality is that they are on a 6 lane road in the middle of the city, and the road is, in fact, paved. To avoid this senior, simply go around if traffic permits. If not, your stuck behind this guy as he meanders his way to the hardware store to buy more supplies for whatever ludicrous DIY repair project he is working on at his home. Maybe he’s is building a fence? Maybe he’s fixing the roof on his shed? Or maybe he’s just aimlessly tinkering around with his possessions because hes retired and waiting to die.

2. Senior in a large luxury car. Perhaps the most common sight, and most certainly the easiest to spot from a distance. Chances are if you see a newer model Caddy that isnt lowered or obnoxiously painted, lowered, or pimped out, there is a senior behind a wheel. Normally seen between four and seven in the afternoon, expect them to make sudden u-turns as they realize that the restaurant they were looking for passed them on the left a few blocks back. At this time, there are usually four seniors in this vehicle, talking about the early 1900s, sharing stories about the Great War, and being oblivious to the fact that they are moving thanks to the luxury cars superb suspension. This is another case of go around to avoid, but at the peaks of going to and returning from dinner, these vehicles may block all lanes. Find an alternate route if possible. In extreme circumstances, its possible to tap the seniors bumper so that it doesnt cause damage to Caddy, but makes them pull over thinking an exchange of insurance information is going to happen. After tapping the bumper, put your blinker on and wait for them to pull over, then just pull around as they get off the road. Use that tactic only if nobody else is around to see your hit and run.

3. Senior pulling into traffic from a stop. While it can be said that seniors are safe drivers because they drive slow and cautiously, it can also be said that seniors dont pay attention to anything else on the road. It can also be said that seniors are smelly, boring, and redundant in speech, but lets not be mean. When a senior makes a left turn, they always make certain there are no cars within 10 miles on the road to make the left turn safely. If behind this senior, make a right turn. Even if it means going miles out of your way, you will still get there before that senior has made the left turn. If the senior is turning right, they tend to throw a bit more caution to the wind. They will make that right turn if the approaching cars seem far away. They dont bother judging the speed of the approaching car, or even taking notice what lane the approaching vehicle is in, seniors just turn. If you are traveling at a good pace and forced to brake or change lanes to avoid a car making a right hand turn onto your street, there is a good chance it is a senior thinking your going 10 under the speed limit like he or she would.

While on the subject of speed limits, I must say that seniors drive slower then everybody else because when they learned to drive the speed limits were much lower then they are today. Why cant they update their brains and realize what the current speed limits are? The same reason they still think a quarter is a lot of money.

Anyhow, to avoid this senior right turner merger, stay in the left most lane as often as possible. That advice does contradict with the next senior category, so use your best judgment.

4. Senior turning from a non-turn lane. This means a senior making a left turn from a road without turn lanes, or a senior that doesnt know what a turn lane is and just stops in the middle of the road waiting for oncoming traffic to clear. If traffic is noticeably clear, the senior will not stop for the left turn, but slow down to about 1 mph while in a normal traffic lane. If there is no turn lane, thats to be expected since the senior wasnt going much faster then that to begin with. However, sometimes the senior fails to recognize a turn lane, whether because its a reversible two way turn lane or, in the case of a right turn-turn lane acknowledgement failure, they just forget to use the turn lane. The best way to avoid these make-up-your-own-turn-lane-seniors is to swerve quickly to the right or left, but never into oncoming traffic.

5. Senior walking on a road without a sidewalk. These seniors, out for an early morning or evening constitutional, are generally aware of cars since they believe that all cars that come within 50 feet of their personal space intend to harm them. These seniors can cause problems when they are crossing a street or driveway, because they often pause and consider their options before crossing. Sometimes they are looking at the buildings that weren’t there years ago, or just noticing a tree. Either way, when these seniors cross, they fail to look either way. They assume that since the way was clear when they first stopped, it is still clear. Often times, after locking your brakes and screeching to a halt, the senior has gone back to their starting point and if not angered, will wave you on. This usually creates that awkward “You go, No, you go” waving exchange. My advice? J ust go. Its not like they can dart out in front of you like a squirrel or a child.

Speaking of darting out in front of you, the other day a woman did just that so she could get my attention and tell me that she would appreciate it if you drivers would stop driving so fast down her street where many a children would play. A STREET WHERE CHILDREN PLAY? WHAT THE HELL IS THAT? Maybe its just from growing up in NYC, but when I was a kid the only time you went in the street is when you intended to cross it. Anyway, its not that I speed, it just that I dont slow down at corners, which saves time. (Visibility permitting, of course) It just looks like Im going fast when in fact Im just going around the corner at 20mph. Most mothers in minivans are not capable of going that fast around corners without tipping.

Anyway, there are 3 subcategories of seniors in the street, in order from fastest to slowest.
1. Senior with an animal in tow
2. Senior with cane or walker or wheelchair
3. Senior on roller blades (very rare)

Keep in mind that the more animals, the slower the speed, therefore a senior with 3 or more animals in tow will walk slower then a senior with a walker. Now just imagine a senior with a walker (the wheeled kind) walking 4 small animals, pausing every so often so his wife can catch up in her wheelchair, crossing an intersection where you must make a left hand turn, and your already 10 minutes late for whatever your late for. Welcome to my world.

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5 10 2007
Checks, a plunger, and Yoo-Hoo. « MacGyvers Roll of Duct Tape

[…] I had my turn signal on for a good mile or so. And don’t even get me started on the amount of old people that were out driving, trying to get to the Country Kitchen Buffet or the Luby’s. (Ok, Fresno doesn’t have a […]

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