Tuesday, May 13, 2008

User Conflict

The Provo River Trail is a favorite of many different groups, including runners and cyclists. With that many groups doing vastly different things, user conflicts are bound to emerge. The City of Provo in its wisdom has divided the trail into three lanes - one for runners, one for faster people going up (like cyclists) and one for faster people going down. They even have easy to understand signs for those challenged with illiteracy or inattentiveness. Apparently, a significant number of long boarders are completely devoid of the basic skills needed to understand the signs. Either that or they just suck. Before I completely let loose on this rant, you should know that I do know that there are responsible long boarders and that the statements I make below are gross over generalizations. Brent and his crew are fine. So, BH, don't be too offended by what's about to follow. So, with that out of the way, last weekend cemented my hatred for the Slacker Long Boarder. The slacker long boarder (SLB) spends most of his time in a marijuana and/or alcohol induced haze that seems to prevent him from finding pants that fit. His pants are either too skinny to fit over his butt or else too baggy to stay over his butt. That same haze makes it hard for him to attend to personal hygiene. As a result, he looks like he's in stage 1 of a homeless lifestyle, which is the stage where they start to look dirty. Just so you know, stage 2 begins with a powerful odor and stage 3 begins when the homeless person is carrying more than 10 plastic grocery bags, which act as a sort of portable chest of drawers. There are five basic types of SLBs. These include the solo upright hammer, the dream weaver, the sheep, the luger, and the skeleton. In addition to poorly fitting pants, each of these types share an utter disregard for any type of signage. And for basic decency. And for common sense. Maybe they share the feeling that they own the entire trail. Or maybe it's some combination of these. I just don't understand those people, but I can describe them. The solo upright hammer hasn't figured out how to turn very well, so he just points the board down hill and hopes the board around corners. He aims for the dead center of the trail and he's not going to move for anybody. If there's a pedestrian in the right lane and a cyclist in the middle, they damn well better work out between the two of them how they're going to make room, because that SLB ain't changing his line for nobody. The dream weaver has figured out how to turn, but he's still afraid of speed. He weaves back and forth across the path in a dream-like trance. I dream that he's awakened from his slumber by running wide, catching a wheel, and falling into the river. But I digress. Then there are the sheep. Or are they cattle. In either case, they move in a large, compressed group and break from the group only reluctantly. Like sheep, they spread out across the road and take their own sweet time while traffic stops to let them by. And like sheep, they're a bunch of dumb animals. At least sheep provide something useful. The luge SLB has decided that it's entirely too much work to just stand on a board. Yes, this guy has reached a level of laziness that he even lays down during outdoor recreation. At least he's smart enough to lead with his feet. The skeleton SLB is the biggest idiot of all. These guys head down hill, in an aero tuck, with no breaks, on a winding trail next to a river that is chock-a-block full of boy scouts, dogs, and little kids while leading with their head. What's more, like their upright cousins, these guys think they own the trail. It's only a question of time before one of those guys puts his brilliant head into some rocks either on the hill side or in the river. Anyway, I'm sick of all of them. Good thing I never bother anybody while I'm on the trail.


Mr. Flynn said...

(chuckle, chuckle)...good post.

Richard said...

Amen :).

Morkthefied said...

An important note to mention about homeless people and their plastic sacks: there is never anything in the sacks but more plastic sacks
(and plastic bottles). And you can tell how long someone has been homeless by how many bags they are carrying. Recently, I saw the one homeless guy we gave a ride to years ago, who at the time only had a dufflebag-size amount of plastic sacks, is now carrying around a huge mountaineering-size backpack. My prediction: full of plastic sacks.

I love this post the most--especially the chock-a-block comment. Vintage Kulani.

Kerry said...

I thought that they banned the SLB last year. Was I wrong