Whatever the source, Cloverism is propagating. There are more of them all the time, it seems. And an ever-increasing variety, too. I thought five chapters (see here, here, here, here and here) would cover it. But it seems there are still a few more subsets to document:
* The Defensive Driving Clover –
He is steeped deep in the learned passivity taught by government “driving” schools and propagandized by their official adjunct, the DMV. If any one thing defines a Clover, it is his reverence for this concept – for the idea of never taking the initiative, never relying on his own judgment – but instead always obeying The Law to the letter, regardless of the sense of doing so. This Clover will sit at a red light all night long, if need be. He will never tread over the double yellow – even for the 10 yards it takes to pass that Amish hay truck crawling along ahead of him at 8 MPH in a 45. But most of all, he expects – demands – that everyone else be just as passive – as “defensive” – as he is.
* The Herky Jerky Clover –
This Clover stabs the gas – and then the brakes. Repeat. Over and over and over again. Smoothness is a concept foreign to this Clover. His stabby braking – and equally sudden bursts of acceleration – create an accordion effect that wastes gas, burns up clutches and brake pads. It also wastes time as traffic slows abruptly – the starts up again – for no apparent reason. Probably, the advent of the automatic transmission is inadvertently responsible for the proliferation of this species of Clover – since it made it possible for people who otherwise couldn’t drive at all to pretend they can.
* The “Break Your Car” Clover –
This Clover rails against using more than 50 percent of a car’s performance capability on the theory that to do so constitutes abuse and will result in the car’s premature demise. He therefore buys a car with a 300 hp V-6 and drives it as though it had no more than a 150 hp four under its hood. Why won’t he just buy a car with a 150 hp four? Because then he’d have to drive it as if it were powered by a 60 hp three cylinder – and that’s too slow, even for Clover.
Someone ought to tell Clover that the whole point of having roundabouts is to get rid of stop signs – and the need to, you know, stop. Clover, of course, loves to stop. It’s his next most favorite thing (after slowing down). Clovers look for reasons – excuses, to be precise – to stop. And will do so even when there’s no reason to – as when entering a roundabout. They also like to stop when there’s a school bus on the other side of a divided highway – and a quarter of a mile away.
* Q Tip Clover –
At first, you’d swear the car ahead is driving itself. The Google car! Except Google probably wouldn’t use a ’95 Oldsmobile Achieva as the platform for its driverless car. So, you look again – and see the little puff of white hair just barely higher than the headrest. It’s Q Tip Clover – on his way back from the veterans of the Spanish American War meeting down at the legion hall. He fought for freedom… and now feels free to make you wait.
Vanity plates are helpful in that they give you fair warning that the driver ahead of you is probably – and in some case, almost certainly is – a Clover. If you see a “Kids First” plate – or “Clean Special Fuel” – consider yourself on notice. When the light goes green, Clover won’t go. Almost always, you won’t be able to see, either. Because these spayshull plates are almost always affixed to a monstrous SUV, bloated minivan or similar Clover conveyance.
* The Motorcycle Clover –
It’s less common for bikers to be Clovers, but there are some – and they tend to ride in groups. And when they do, they sometimes occupy both traffic lanes, making it impossible for anyone else to get around them. The result is sometimes an eruption of exasperation along the lines of the Volvo driver in the video above. One can only take so much.
At busy intersections, there are often two turn lanes. But frequently, you’ll find only one of them is being used. A conga line of Clovers will stretch back from the head Clover at the front of the line to the point at which the two lanes thin to just one – making it all but impossible for you to access the empty turn lane. Not one of the Clovers ahead notice the empty lane to their left. They just follow the Clover ahead of them who follows the next Clover – and so on. (You’ll encounter this same phenomenon at bank drive-thru windows. Two lanes will be open, with a line of several Clovers waiting in Line 1 – and Line 2 open but inaccessible because of the stacked-up line of Clovers to the left.)
He’s the Clover who can’t handle heavy rain, but instead of pulling off the road until it clears up, turns on his emergency flashers and keeps on going. . . . very, very slowly. Often, he will straddle the center line of a two-lane highway in order to lead the way and (per the Clover Handbook) prevent anyone else from getting by him. If you try to ease around him, Clover’s concern for your safety will manifest in the form of horn honking and high beam flashing. Sometimes, Clover will even speed up – his fear of rain driving apparently having been trumped by his bottomless urge to show you who’s boss.
What to do?
Ultimately, Cloverism is a function of density. The more people in a given area, the greater the number of Clovers – and the harder it is to get away from (or around) them. At some point, a critical mass of Cloverism is achieved – and escape becomes impossible. Get by one – and there’s another up ahead. It’s like trying to fend off a Zombie horde with just one mag full of ammo.
The only advice I have, therefore, is – simply – flee.
Get as far away from people as possible and you’ll be fairly free of Clovers.
For a little while, anyhow.
Throw it in the Woods?
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