Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Cautious Creeper.

I have to add a postscript to my last post. Remember the pictures of my old PC and the Harley with the CX500 next to it? I ventured the thought that, although stereotypes aren't good, it seemed easy to tell the real commuter bikes.

Today I have to eat my words. The rain has come in. This morning it was dark, cold and foggy when I left. I ended up back in the Capitol mid-morning. Guess what? The Harley was the only bike there today. Both the CX and the PC were missing in action. Go figure.

Last night on the way home I cataloged another sub-species of the Idiot family. Undertaking this study has proved to be amusing. I'm really glad I started. It's changed my whole outlook on taking trips through the Idiot Jungle. I'm actually starting to look forward to making new discoveries and seeing bizarre manifestations of Idiot behaviour!

This particular sub-species is called "I'm talking on a cell phone, have no ability to multi-task, so I'm cautiously creeping along". You know how scientific names are. They aren't real unless they're really long. For everyday reference we'll just call them Cautious Creepers. This example was wrapped in the skin markings of a gold colored Lexus SUV. Upon further examination a middle-aged male specimen was revealed. On the cell phone, of course. Hence the mention in the scientific name. Funny how that all works, isn't it? The old spouters of Latin had nothing on us, did they?

Any good scientific research project starts with questions. I've always heard that it was ok to err on the side of caution. Personally, I've never practiced it, but that's what people say, anyway. Would it be possible to be too cautious? Thanks to my research I can now say positively that being too cautious can be hazardous to one's health.

I came upon this subject in the midst of town traffic. Our town has a population of around 45,000. This doesn't count those who come in to work and shop from rural areas. My attention was first drawn by frequently flashing brake lights. I briefly considered that this was some sort of mating ritual. Nature is full of these displays. Firefly illuminations, peacock feathers full of color, teen-agers who wear their pants below their rear-ends, the list is endless. As a mating ploy it had possibilities. Many vehicles almost had close encounters with the hindquarters of the Lexus. Until one decisive encounter which I will relate shortly. It was definitely not a mating encounter.

As a researcher I am tasked with remaining a casual observer. Besides, I just wasn't feeling the attraction. I maneuvered my trusty mare Sophie into a position where I could just watch what happened.

Having reached a point where I could see the Cautious Creeper's head, I soon realized that this was no mating display. This was prey desperately attempting to avoid being devoured. The furtive head movements from side to side revealed the deep need to spot potential predators as early as possible. The cell phone was taking what little cognitive powers were available in the first place. Somehow the cell phone was satisfying some primal need that made it impossible for the Cautious Creeper to put it down. All that was left was to keep the head wildly swinging and the brake foot stomping.

Stomp it did. At every intersection the foot stomped and the brake lights flashed. Since conditions seemed to preclude the successful accomplishment of a speedy escape, the only conclusion I could draw was that the primary defense of this creature is to stop and play dead. I'm sure that them was being emphasized by the first three letters of the license plate. They were "ZZZ". Stop and act like one is snoozing, I guess. Being careful is a good thing. Being paranoid about what's coming to the exclusion of what's behind is not.

After identifying the creature, I had adopted a position of observation. Ok, I had actually passed it long ago and stopped for gas. There is a stoplight near the fuel station. I saw the Cautious Creeper come to the light, still swinging his head. The light flickered from green to yellow. A foot in a gold Lexus SUV stomped the brake. The Cautious Creeper stopped abruptly. Another sub-species, the "I'm preening myself by my reflection in your shiny bumper bird" or Bumper Bird for short, did not stop.

Preening must demand one hundred percent concentration. Or how else would this female have missed the Cautious Creeper and his amorous / defensive brake light displays? It will take further study, I'm sure. All the more ammunition for further grant applications.

Both the gold Lexus of the Cautious Creeper and the red Chevy Nova sedan of the Bumper Bird suffered damage. The ponderous low speed of C.C. was more than made up for by the flitting velocity of B.B. ( I got tired of typing the names so many times ) I decided my research period was over. It had been a tiring day of work followed by field research. Let the creatures fend for themselves. A warm house, a hot woman, and a shot of whiskey were calling my name.

The Idiot population is flourishing. There will be plenty of opportunity for research later. Unfortunately, they aren't going anywhere soon!

Miles and smiles,



Anonymous said...

Greetings from Salt Lake City:

Little did we know that we have reached a penultimate moment for our species.

Judging from the birds I see fly by from my perch, the whole ambition of Homo Sapiens from our early Hunter Gatherer days has been to make noises into a cell phone while traveling in a closed, climate-controlled vehicle.

Sometimes faster ... sometimes slower ... as your observation demonstrates.

And the immortal quality of these glittering conversations? "Hi ... looks like I'm passing 56th street ... now I'm passing 64th street...."

--- Nate B.

Steve Williams said...

Won't your research be curtailed with the coming of winter? I thought all the Cautious Creepers and general idiot population either hibernate or migrate south....

If I had a Harley it would be parked at my office in the rain.

I did just come from a short discussion with the local Triumph dealer about what it would take to put the Scrambler in my garage. I've had a headache for the past week and it must be affecting me....


irondad said...

Hello back to you in Salt Lake. Have you seen the TV commercial where people are shopping at a mall and still in their cars? Like Gary said in his Baron in Winter blog, people go from boxes to boxes. You're right; what do people have to talk about so much? They just don't want to be alone with the empty echoes in their own heads.

You've become like an actor. They play one certain type of role a few times and then get typecast. You will always be a scooter guy to me. However, go explore if you must. That's how we grow. The Scrambler might be a good choice. At least it's got a lot of heritage and emotional content to go with it.