The Paragon of Vehicular Virtue

Since i reformed a few years ago and discovered that i didn’t need to get from A to B in the shortest possible time and that it was far more enjoyable to relax and cruise along in the slow lane at the speed limit and even allow myself to follow periodically at a prudent distance a vehicle going at less than the speed limit, i’ve somehow stopped getting those speeding tickets and started arriving at my destinations relaxed.

And somewhere along in there it got to be entertaining to properly signal every turn and to wave other drivers ahead when there was anything like a close call as to who had the right of way.

But then when i got the Segway i at first relapsed into some of my former type A driving habits and, i confess it now, started riding more like the local bicyclists.  That didn’t last long, though, and after a brief discussion with an SFPD traffic officer several years ago, developed the technique of bringing the wheels to a full stop atop the Stop stripe and allowing my body to pendulum forward, instantly catapulting the vehicle back up to full speed – a simultaneous demonstration of vehicular virtue and virtuosity and a double pleasure to a man who was already obscenely smug about driving a Prius.

And then as our San Francisco bicyclists over the past several years began to enjoy a worse and worse reputation for their rudeness (and more recently running into people and killing them), i’ve started after-you-my-dear-Alphonsing every pedestrian anywhere near a crosswalk and absolutely basking in the good vibes.  The next step was to ratchet my righteousness even higher by scrupulously signaling my turns.

So perched at this zenith the other day i went whirring at the max through the Costco parking garage and up the ramp to the second floor entrance radiating a mixture of joy and saintliness.  You can imagine my shock when, as i was chaining the Segway to a convenient post, i was approached by one of their security guards who pleasantly inquired whether i might have been exceeding the speed limit.

I don’t know.  What’s the speed limit?  i wondered.

And he pointed to this huge sign prominently proclaiming

Speed Limit 5 MPH.

Oops, i immediately admitted,  I was going way over that.  My bad.

Tried to weakly weasel that at least i was stopping for the stop signs, but dropped that line because that wasn’t the issue, and he was just too damn nice to open even the possibility of bristling defensiveness.  So i just shut up in abject embarrassment.

It wasn’t until that night that it struck me that since from the moment i’d got the Segway i’d thought of it, quite rightly, as being the slowest vehicle on the road, it had somehow never occurred to me that there might be someplace where it was capable of exceeding a speed limit.  So i’d been utterly oblivious to speed limit signs anywhere, most especially in the Costco parking garage.  So oblivious, in fact, that i’d found great pleasure in taking advantage of their ultra smooth surfaces so that whenever i wasn’t close to pedestrians, i could run at maximum speed, taking corners with my body at 45 degrees.

Next time is was in Costco i spotted my nemesis, rolled up to him, at the speed limit, and told him about my aha experience.  He laughed.  And my goodness, is he ever handsome when he does that.

Meanwhile, here’s the gateway to everywhere beside the 4th Street Bridge.  The spikes on top provide extra security.

gateway to everywhere

And here’s Escher on drugs in Clarion Alley

Escher on drugs

Note how our taggers respect the art and (mostly) tag only in the margins.  Am i living in at the zenith of civilization  or what?  And before you answer that question, yes, i know the vandals destroyed that magnificent giant xylophone in the new kids’ playground in Dolores Park when the playground had been open only a week.  This is why we invented public floggings.  The city could charge admission and use the proceeds to finance repairs.  Problem solved.

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