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Monday, September 28, 2009

I Question Your Ability to Lead, Sir

Have you ever been part of a convoy, a train of cars going where only the lead car really knows the end point?

There’s an art to the convoy, a talent. The lead guy is the man (or possibly the woman) with the navigational wherewithal, the skills to maneuver the roads, to judge the lights, to settle into a reasonable speed to accommodate the line of cars behind him. Naturally, the longer the convoy, the better the chance that someone will be lost along the way.

Baraboo, WI, is a good place for this, by the way. One full tank of gas from Minneapolis, it is…

Statistically speaking, did you know that you are more apt to be attacked by a black bear as you are to reach your destination with your full complement of travelors?

Maybe that only works in Minnesota.

Of course all members of the convoy have a role to play. Those with lead feet (or lead footses, as they are sometimes known) are just as dangerous to the integrity of the line as those who can’t keep up or slam on their brakes at the sight of a yellow light.

Consistent speed is the key, people; this is my personal conviction.

So I said all that because of what I saw Sunday.

Sunday, I watched three rather large vehicles with Manitoba plates trail a car with Minnesota plates down 94, then onto Broadway and down to University. Broadway has lights every four blocks or so, and so I found myself behind them, over and over. Young and stupid, cutting in and out of traffic, the last two cars unfailingly running red lights to keep up.

It was clear that their lead guy was not up to the job.

Mr. Minnesota Plates? You are fired, sir.

Of course we’re not as reliant on the lead car as we once were. Cell phones, GPS units, lojack (that’s not a guaranteed spelling there, by the way), have given us the information necessary to get from one place to another.

Now if we could get our hands on the device that will allow us to work together.

23 comments:

Jess said...

I think it should be a voted in position myself. I have only taken lead a couple of times, but I prefer to be the follower.

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

I'm the one that gets left behind at a red light....

Kavi said...

Leading is a dangerous thing. In the car or in person !

And its not for everyone.

Sometimes...these two points get muddled. Everyone thinks that he or she is destined to lead. Or drive the lead car !

:)

The Jules said...

I always offer to take the lead, then when we arrive I can run around the other car(s) shouting "I won! I won!" and making the L sign on my forehead.

This perturbs my Nan.

powdergirl said...

Ha, you said Manitoba : )

Thank you firing the misleading Minnesotan, we prairie folks are easily lost in the big city.

I'm a terrible leader of convoys, cause I'm a lead-foot. Can't follow either, because I'm always passing the leader. I like GPS.

The Vegetable Assassin said...

That would be our not-so-secret Manitoba police! :)

Although if I was lead vehicle in any sort of vehicle snake line, I'd be tempted to lead their foreign asses all over town too, particularly if it involves making large foreign vehicles weave around things in a dangerous manner.

BEAST said...

We dont have this problem in the UK as the roads are so overcrowded its every man(Woman) for himself , and if we lose a few along the way.....so be it

CSY said...

HA! Down here in the South, we play 'leap frog' convoy...but only if its late, no cops around and safe...

@eloh said...

Do you have friends or family in Baraboo?
This is like the six degrees to Kevin Bacon thing.

Pearl said...

Jess, I will vote for you!

PHST, we will circle back for you, I promise.

Kavi, a very good point, my friend.

The Jules, that’s why you are always invited to my parties. :-D

Powdergirl, then I get to ride with you…

The Vegetable Assassin, oh, there’s a blog in that, isn’t there? The Manitoba Not-So-Secret Police!

BEAST, I suppose certain things must be sacrificed. Me, I don’t think should I ever make it to the UK, that I will drive at all. I will have to stay somewhere central and see who will come and get me. :-D

CSY, “leap frog” convoy?! I’m seeing country roads leading up to little bars, lots of stars in the sky, and the Rebel Yell. Oh, wait! That actually works here, too!

@eloh, no, no relatives. I used to work in their court system, though. Have you been through Baraboo in the winter? It’s very, very strange, all those empty tourist traps, t-shirt shops, water slides, all those empty roads. It’s like the end of the world has taken place… Do you have family in Baraboo, then? I lived in Wisconsin Rapids and was the per diem reporter all throughout central WI in the early 90s.

Not The Rockefellers said...

I want ot ride with Pearl and powdergirl

and when you are engulfed in a convoy there does come a point in time where you may ask yourself...self..how did I get here?

And is it worth all of this to get to wherever they're going?

And the days go by.....

Peace - Rene

Pearl said...

Rene, I think a trip with you and powdergirl would require empty notebooks and a supply of pens. I imagine there would be all kinds of quotable conversation!

glnroz said...

i hate it when trying to follow and the "lead" jerks from lane to lane, running traffic lights. anyhow,, enjoy looking at your blog. Did someone say you were "abusive". wooooo,, i am skeert. lol thnx for the visit at my site and the comment. drop in anytime, thanx, glenn

otin said...

Don't get me started on the driving thing! I hate everything about driving!! LOL!

ellen abbott said...

You are so amusing.

I was often lead canoe on river trips. The same things apply to river trips as to convoys. The lead boat could not go too fast because it would separate the group into fast paddlers and slow paddlers and then the whole concept of lead canoe was moot. A good lead canoe made frequent sops to allow stragglers to catch up.

CatLadyLarew said...

I've actually found my way to Baraboo before. Had a lovely time at the circus!

Christine Gram said...

CONVOY! Now I just have to remember the rest of that song...

St Jude said...

I was once following hubby home on a really foggy night. I stuck to his tail lights as these were all I could see, he swung a left and then stopped abrubtly. I waited patiently for him to set off again, then there was a tap on my window. It transpired that hubby had given me the slip and I was now parked on someones drive having followed them by mistake.

Gaston Studio said...

I hate it when the convoy "leader" doesn't pay any attention to his/her followers!

IB said...

I have had more than a few roadside arguments with bad convoy leaders. Because I take my responsibilities as lead driver in a convoy very seriously. One must anticipate all manner of obstacle affecting the following cars. Not everyone can do this well as many people subscribe to the "oh, they'll catch-up" philosophy.

Suzanne said...

How can you make me laugh so consistently?

You were spot on, btw on your dream analysis. More than you KNOW!

justsomethoughts... said...

that device is a fantasy. the whole free world has been looking for one for all of eternity.

Ann's Rants said...

Tell me, Please, that you stopped to see the most amazing and literal scrap-art fairy land that is Dr. Evermore's in Baraboo. Right behind Delaney's Surplus.

Tell me you did.

I realize the point was caravans and not Baraboo, but I couldn't help myself on this one.

Ann