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Saturday, August 21, 2010

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 travelers?

Wait. 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 Friday night.

Friday night, 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.

19 comments:

Will Burke said...

To be fair, my Manitoban cousins may have been challanged by a 3D landscape. Back home, if a drive is less than 3 1/2 hours, they can probably see their destination the whole way.

GYPSYWOMAN said...

fabulous post, ms. pearl! don't know just how many times i've experienced the same thing - perhaps even the same sad drivers! :)

Sam Liu said...

I've never been part of a convoy, and until I read this marvellous post, I had no idea such a thing existed. Well, I guess you learn something new everyday. But I don't have any desire to be part of a convoy - putting both my life and my faith into the hands of a possibly (probably) incompetent motorist doesn't sound like much fun :)

Casey Freeland said...

Isn't there a GPS system, or smart phone app where folks can keep track of each other in other vehicles? There should be. I went through this with five vehicles though an unfamiliar town. I have a Garmin and it was telling me to go a different route than the lead dude... who was the typical lead dude. It was all I could do to follow him. I didn't want to follow him. I think he added about 10 minutes to the drive. Next time I'm leading. I'm going to be the dude.

Casey

Symdaddy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Herding Cats said...

Agreed! I always dread following a particular friend of mine because she has NO concept of the people behind her and constantly goes through yellow lights and we hit red. The worst was when she accidentally took us down a one-way street!

Symdaddy said...

In my day ... when I was young ... I was was tail-end-charlie of many a convoy. I must have mooned half the population of Germany ... AND I NEVER GOT LOST!


(previous comment deleted to hide my atrocious spelling)

SparkleFarkle said...

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

By George, I think might cat might have just what you're looking for! (Read the caption under the winking kit-kat animation included in MY JACK HANDEY BLOG ENTRY. If you want, I can give you Noddy's cell number. Let me know.

SparkleFarkle~~~~~*

SparkleFarkle said...

P.S. Sorry, here's the missing parenthesis I forgot to end my last sentence with--> )

The Jules said...

If I'm ever leading a convoy round them parts I'm going to watch out for black bears now.

What do they drive?

Georgina Dollface said...

I hate following other cars to get from place to place because the person I am usually following blows through every yellow light and I (good driver that I am) always get stuck at a red. Just give me the damn directions and I'll get there when I get there! - G

Simply Suthern said...

I don't convoy. I let that mode of transportation die with "Convoy" the movie. Of course you cant always avoid it as in the Funeral Procession. But the lead guy usually knows where he is going and aint in no hurry to get there.

So wher ever you are going i'll just meet you there. 10-4?

Cheeseboy said...

Oh, I am the BEST at being the leader. I ensure happiness of every vehicle behind me.

KleinsteMotte said...

We have a rule. Get there your own way. Following is too stressful.

Douglas said...

I am neither a leader nor a follower. Therefore, I am usually lost or, as I describe it, taking the scenic route.

Tempo said...

No black bears here...or so Ive been told. Hmm... I'll have to give this convoy thing a try sometime.. so it's on the list between having my head nailed to a tree and losing my bowels in the street.

B-u-x said...

I'm all for the device to help us all work together!

Jeepers Pearl, I'm amazed at your ability to write so much stuff. If we could see in your head I bet it would just look like a bowl of word soup!

Bx

Bossy Betty said...

Looks like we got us a Convoy!!! Oh. Oh. I'm going to be singing that sing all day now....

Tail-Kinker said...

I am proud to say I'm a great convoy leader. I once got a caravan of 12 cars from my house in Stacy, MN to Somerset, WI without losing a single one on the way. IMHO, I judged everything just right--all the traffic, turns, stops, and lights (which, granted, there aren't many of in the country, but still!)

Until we got to the campsite and the caravan blew up...but at that point my responsibility ended.