I was behind a truck yesterday. Not by choice. It charged out of a side street and bullied its way in front of me. The driver knew he had me outmatched. A fully loaded dump truck verses a two-seat roadster. You get this a lot when you drive a little car. The big guys pick on you, especially when they notice that you’re an old coot. He pulled out; I slammed on my breaks. There was a sign on the back of the truck that said, “Construction Vehicle; Do Not Follow.” What was I supposed to do? Pull over to the curb and park? I chose to violate the “do not follow” mandate, to continue on my journey even though I was “following” him. He turned right; I turned right. He turned left; I turned left. The “Do Not Follow” sign loomed large at every juncture, but I wasn’t following. Honest! It just happened that we were going in the same direction.
It made me wonder what the sign painter was thinking when he penned the “Do Not Follow” line. I’ve seen a lot of construction vehicles with signs. Usually they say, “Do Not Follow Too Closely,” or “This Vehicle Makes Sudden Stops,” but I’ve only recently seen this one. I guess they expect you to turn around and go the other way. It may sound like it made me mad but it didn’t; it made me jealous! I wanted a sign with moxie too!
A while back I suggested that people of my vintage put a flashing green light on the roof of their cars to warn other drivers that an old coot is on the road, to expect him to stay in the passing lane going 50 MPH, back up without looking and not turn right on red. The flashing light would be nice for other drivers, but it wouldn’t do much for us old coots. A sign like the one on the dump truck would. It could be tailored for the occasion. Like when I wake up with a crick in my neck. I could put a “Driver Can’t Turn His Head” sign in the back window to let people know I might swerve into them if they try to pass me.
“Old Coot Forgot His Hearing Aids,” is another good one. It would stop people from blowing their horn when I do something stupid, like putting on my left signal and then turning right. A sign that says, “Headed For An Early Bird Special,” would be the best of all. I’d put it on the front and back of my car. It would be as effective as the siren on an ambulance. People would pull to the side of the road to get out of the way. Nobody is foolish enough to get between an old coot and an early bird special.
The list of signs I’d stick on my car is endless: “Vehicle Stops Frequently For Coffee,” followed by, “This Vehicle Makes Frequent and Sudden Stops At Rest Rooms.” Or, “Driver Naps While Driving.” I guess what I really need is an electronic signboard with preprogrammed buttons. Then, I could change the message on the fly. I’d wear out the, “You’re Following Too Close,” button. People ride my back bumper all the time. Is it just an old coot thing, or do they do it to you too?