South African driving etiquette in the Hudson Valley
Wednesday, November 30 2022
I woke up feeling fairly bad this morning, and I soon found out why: I had a temperature of 100.4. I start feeling listless and low energy with any temperature above 99.5 or so. Forunately, I was able to bring my fever down with some ibuprofen. Later I was even able to do some successful C# software development in VisualStudio.
At noon today, I actually went out into public despite my lingering illness. I'd brought that big pot with a tomato plant in it back from the cabin, and I needed some sort of tray to catch water coming out of the bottom of it. Home Depot has such trays, which, for some reason, cost $15 each. They're just plastic, but the size was right. I bought two, since I also need one for big pots up at the cabin when the warm weather arrives.
I then drove the back way to Home Goods, a store jam-packed with crappy things for the home. At this time of year, it's especially full of Christmas crap. Nearly all the customers are middled-aged white women. I wanted to get some more chip clips for the cabin, but I couldn't find any at all (which seemed weird; TJ Maxx sells them in at least two different places in their Albany store). I ended up buying a large comfy grey blanket for use when I'm lounging on the laboratory bean bag.
On the drive home, I saw the perpetuation by a stranger of a meme that I feel I may have started nearly twenty years ago. Back in the spring of 2003, Gretchen and I had something of a pre-marriage honeymoon in South Africa, visiting her friend Dina who, at the time, was a reporter for the Associated Press. There was a lot to take in in South Africa, and one of the things that struck me was a matter of highway etiquette. In South Africa (where people drive on the left), if you intend to make a left turn from the highway and there is someone following you, it is expected that you will merge onto the shoulder and do your left turn from there, allowing the person behind you to continue without ever needing to slow down. It's a good practice, since it means that the inconvenience of slowing down (which hurts fuel efficiency and increases required driving time) do not propagate beyond the person making the turn. So when I returned to the United States, I began extending this one point of South African driving etiquette to people driving behind me on US 209 as I slowed to make the right turn (since we drive on the right) into Old Hurley on Wynkoop Road. When Ray moved to Old Hurley, I introduced the idea to him, and he said he'd even done it in front of a state trooper, who seemed to be fine with it. In recent years, I've seen more and more people doing this rather exotic form of right turn at that intersection and they must be picking it up from other drivers such as me who model doing it. Today the truck in front of me turning into Hurley did it, and I did it too, since there was a car behind me, and that car never had to tap his brakes. The stranger who had done the South African turn apparently lives north of Wynkoop off Hurley Mountain Road somewhere, because that's where his or her vehicle ultimately went.
I managed to convince the sketchy tankless hot water heater to provide me another hot bath about 3:00pm today. And when I got out, I was feeling so good that I was able to work for a couple hours on a work-related tasks. The sore throat has mostly vanished, though I still have a bit of a runny nose and am regularly hacking up dense phlegm from deep in my lungs.
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