The town I live in, Duvall, has an email alias within Microsoft for all the employees who live there. Without fail, every couple of months, someone sends this:
"What’s with the lady in the bright blue truck who only goes 20 miles per hour on the main roads? Can something be done about her?"
And again without fail, comes the reply from someone else on the alias:
"Ah, I see you ran into the BTLFH."
Duvall is a small farming community with a population that runs in the low thousands. It sits on the East side of the beautiful Snoqualmie river valley. Over the past 10 years or so, a significant portion of that population has shifted to having a large contingent of Microsoft employees, drawn by the lower house prices and small town life. Like any small town it has its benefits, drawbacks, and minor quirks. A benefit for instance is that it’s almost always quiet, and on a clear night you can see the milky way due to the lack of light pollution. A drawback might be the dearth of good restaurant choices or the distance one has to go to attend a major concert or event.
And a quirk would be The Blue Truck Lady From Hell.
The Blue Truck Lady From Hell is an older woman driving a bright blue Ford Ranger pickup truck with a white dark tinted bed cover. She is known primarily for never exceeding 20 or 25 miles per hour, even on the 55mph highway that leads in and out of Duvall, or any of the associated 45mph roads in and around the town. She is most famous, and earned the "from hell" designation, for consistently slowing down the morning Microsoft commute. The fastest way from Duvall to Microsoft involves the 203 highway (55mph) to 124th (45mph) to Novelty Hill (35-45mph). That stretch of the Microsoft commute has no passing lanes until you reach Redmond Ridge, about 5 miles from Duvall. Meaning if you happen to get stuck behind the BTLFH, you will be stuck behind her for the next 10-15 minutes, crawling along at 20mph. Here’s a photo of me stuck behind her this morning:
That stretch of road is 45mph, we’re crawling along slowly enough there for an MS employee behind me to safely capture the moment with his phone.
Depending on your commute habits, you might run into the BTLFH roughly three or four times a year, just rare enough to make it an oddity and amongst some of the newer members of the community, an exciting event. Like sighting a bald eagle or something.
Whenever I see someone driving in a way that is completely counter to reality or the world I myself appear to be experiencing, I no longer get angry or upset. Instead, I try to imagine what world that person is seeing. In the case of the BTLFH, I often imagine that she is seeing a mystical world of amazing beauty, with rainbows and mythical beasts and stunning vistas, such that she can’t help but drive slowly in order to experience it all. Or perhaps she is seeing a dark world fraught with peril, where just the slightest mistake could send her careening off a sheer cliff face or into a pool of lava. Or maybe she see’s a post apocalyptic world filled with the ruins of past glory, and she is driving slowly in sadness, lamenting a world now past.
Either way, I just can’t get angry when I realize she’s going to be a part of my morning commute.
We also have Zombie Deer in Duvall, but that’s a story for another time.