Unique Commuter Solutions
Revised: October 22, 2007
Slug Stories and Poems
(click here for Poems)
A Quick Stop at McDonalds (2 Feb 07) - Everyday I have a different story to tell, but my friend decided I HAVE TO send this one in :). Happened this morning (7:30am) at Potomac Slug Line. I get into the woman's car in the back seat and there is a man approaching the front seat. The driver says to the approaching man "Sorry, I have another passenger coming". So I'm already 1/2 hour late for work and I think to myself "oh no, I picked the wrong car". So she proceeds to pull off in search of the missing slugger. We ride around the parking lot looking for his truck, THEN she drives across the street to McDonalds and states . "oh there is his truck, he must be inside getting some breakfast" So I'm sitting in the back thinking to myself .. I CAN'T BELIEVE THIS! So finally the other slugger comes out of McDonald's and tells the driver, "follow me back to the parking lot so I can park my car". By this time I'm checking the slug line to see how long it is (maybe I can jump out and ride w/someone else--no such luck, sluggers in line without a car in sight). So we drive back to the Commuter lot so he can park his car. He finally gets in and we're off. Just another funny tale from slugging in VA :)
My Good Friday Story (25 Mar 05)
- The following story is true and happened not
more than 2 hours ago. let me also state that my co-workers
finally talked me in to Slugging and that today was exactly
1 week from the day I started.....
Radio Adjustments (24 Nov 04)
- This morning I got my morning Express rag after
a young lady got hers first.
She walked towards the next vehicle that was
available, got in the front seat and I got in the back.
As we were tooling along the HOV lanes, I noticed
that she reached over to the volume knob on the radio and
slowly cranked up the volume.
I was aghast and thought, how rude of her to fiddle
with someone else's radio. The music was distorted and
thumped badly, probably because I was in the rear seat. The
guy driving sort of glanced at her action but said or did
was said between the driver or the front seat passenger.
Then I noticed that she had her Express opened up
fully, her left hand just about touching the jacket of the
driver -- she did not have the decency to fold it in half.
I also noticed that she had a ball point pen in her
right hand and sometimes it would touch the door panel.
I thought that if the driver could see her with that
pen, he would (should) have a fit.
The Accidental Slug (13 Mar 04) -The After reading the “slug stories”, I thought I’d add one of my own. Back in the late 80’s, there were no commuter lots (at least in Springfield), except for the gathering place at Long John Silvers. So I, like most drivers, would raid the bus stops. As I inched my way towards downtown Springfield, I’d scan every bus stop for potential slugs like a cat ready to pounce on a mouse. One day, I eagerly spied a couple at a bus stop. They were probably in their early 60’s. I swooped over and called my usual “Would you like a ride to the Pentagon?” They looked at each other. They looked at me. They looked at each other again. Finally they shrugged and climbed in. As is often the case, we didn’t speak during the ride, but I noticed that they were getting increasingly nervous. Finally, we pulled into the Pentagon, and one of them screwed up their courage and asked, “Well, how much do we owe you?” It turns out that they were tourists! They planned to go sightseeing downtown while their son whom they were visiting was at work. I quickly explained how the slug system works, and no, they didn’t owe me anything - they already “paid” me by getting me to work an hour early. They were completely flabbergasted. Their final words were “Oh my God! This kind of thing would NEVER happen in Cincinnati!”
Crack the Window (13 Mar 04) - This happened in November of 2003. I was waiting to pick up for 18 and K ST at Potomac Mills when a small, fiery-red haired, round lady strolls my way. She happened to be going there and gets in the car. I had those new car fresheners that looks like the Glade plug-in versions in the Jasmine scent, and my car was smelling great. However, when she came in I could barely smell it any longer. The second slug was a good-looking, young guy that got in the back. I could barely breath with the stench this lady was producing. After driving for fifteen minutes, the lady says in a very strong, Russian accent, "Could you please crack the window?" I abided. Awhile later, she asks, "Is something wrong with your car because it smells bad?" I was fuming but said, "No, the car is fine and was smelling fine until a few moments ago." We drove in silence. She wanted to be dropped off at C ST, so I gladly let her out. The moment she stepped out, the car fresheners miraculously started working. I looked at the guy and plead, "It was her." He said, "I know, I have slugged with her before." We both started cracking up.
The Talkative Drive (27 Feb 04) - I slug once a week to be on the other side of the fence. This morning I got on a Honda Mini-van going to 18th street & M street. I got into the front seat. I sat down and said good morning to this young lady and closed the door, the other slug sat in the rear seat behind me. As customary I told the young lady I'll get off at M street since she is going there. She immediately said "please don't tell me your destination until we cross Memorial bridge and then she went into the her rules about slugging. "My doors are manual so you have to close them yourself". Anyway she went on and on about her bad experiences with different slugs "smokers that smelled so bad it stunk her car for days". She said that when she was pregnant she got so sick from cigarette smell that she turned her car around and told the man "you need to get another ride because your tobacco smell makes me really sick. She turned out to be an very interesting person and dropped me off at 18th and Massachusetts Ave.
Slugging is the best experience!!
The "Sleeping Beauty" (16 Jan 04) - I've been driving into D.C. for about a year and enjoying the benefits of the HOV lanes due to the faithful slugs. Most of the time my slugs just fall asleep, I'm guessing due to my smooth jazz radio station. On one particular afternoon I picked up two slugs at the Pentagon and started the familiar trip south. My front slug was a middle aged professional woman that started to nod off almost immediately. My back slug was an extremely petite younger woman. Very attractive and stylishly dressed she could have been on any number of magazine covers. Around the mixing bowl she also gave into the smooth jazz and was out. A few minutes later a started to hear a strange noise emanating from the back seat. It started but a faith whisper but quickly gained intensity with every passing second. My first thoughts were of a blown a tire or a dropped muffler along side the interstate. However, as the noise grew, the identify and source was quite clear. About that time my front slug was awoken by the awful noise and quickly turn around thinking the poor lass might need emergency medical attention. As she turned she quickly realized what I had already come to know. My young back slug sleeping beauty was snoring like a 300 pound gorilla. It was surreal to see a noise that loud and that strong come from such a small frame. I doubt that the entire Redskin's Offensive Line could match her snoring ability. My front slug and I just looked at one another wondering if this anomaly could possibly be her at normal rest. We didn't dare wake the gentle beast, we just cruised down I-95 laughing at what was quickly becoming my very best slug story.
The "Buses Only" Lane (30 Dec 03) - I am a new commuter, starting at the PRTC center in Woodbridge, going to Court House Metro Stop.
My regular routine is PRTC commuter bus to Springfield, Blue Line to Rosslyn, Orange Line to Court House. And of course reverse in the evenings. I have often thought of slugging, it would be a much shorter commute. But then…
Last month while on the last leg of my journey home…I am on the OmniRide from Springfield to PRTC, we exit HOV to the commuter lot, as usual we stop at the first bus stop in the commuter lot, but as we approach the second bus stop, there is a small red car blocking the clearly marked “buses only” lane, we cant get around this vehicle and it was not moving. The bus driver blows the horn, a person gets out of the front passenger side of this vehicle and bangs on the Omni Ride bus doors, the bus driver explains their vehicle is in a “buses only” lane, explains they must move their car, the person says “wait she will get the driver” of the vehicle to come over and talk to the bus driver. This person goes over to the right back seat door and opens it, while the driver is also getting out, the driver also goes to the right back seat door, they pull this passenger out of the back seat and promptly deposit this woman on the steps of the Omni Bus, stating they are “sluggers” and don’t know her and she got sick and passed out during the commute and they were now leaving. Which they did. They got back in their red car and left. Of course the driver of our bus had to call an ambulance/police and of course we were late getting back to PRTC.
My point is this, I am a fairly new commuter…the thought of slugging frightens me to death!
The Ultimate Slug Ride (8 Dec 03) -
Slugging in the Washington area is a unique experience. Imagine, if you will, strangers who queue their cars to pick up perhaps still stranger "slug riders."
My story starts about August of 03, while slugging from the Pentagon to Route 234 (Quantico area). That evening, I jumped into the back seat of a cream color Lincoln driven by an older, dyed-blonde female. The second slug, a slight built mid-aged man (SBM) did the shotgun seat. But, before we had our doors fully closed or seatbelts fastened, the car rockets away, perilously passing Horner traffic, not so much as slowing for the stop sign, swiftly sliding around the ramp corner, and quickly shooting up to the HOV, before furiously slamming the brakes and testing the ABS system to avoid the merging non-HOV traffic crosses at that point.
"Ma'am!" I declared, wanting only to comment that I was truly
impressed by such aggressive driving, especially from a woman -- totally
unexpected. But from the corner of my eye I could see that the SBM in front
seat, now had a look of growing terror cascading down his face. And
then, the driver turned towards the back seat, all the while accelerating
She turns back towards the front, checking but a moment to see if slugger #2 has anything to add. He didn’t. Rather, SBM in front seat shrinks into the space between the seat back and doorpost. He, obviously got the point. Not ever the one accused of being bright, I did not associate the smell of sulfur and the acrid air with the changing environment within the car. Once again I attempted to speak, "Ma'am! I just wa ..." She twisted around in her see, cutting me -- and a metro bus -- off, and with the best "thousand demon" voice that one might know from too much late-night TV, she reaches back with one arm as if she is going to take something from me and commands, "You! Shut UP!"
Thinking about it, now, several month later, "#@&% You!" or "Go to H#@&!" might have been a good reply. But that and any other quick witted thoughts that I might have had went out of my mind as I glimpsed the Speed-o-meter pushing 80 and the back bumper of an HOV-violating, trash-hauling 18-wheeler ahead of us closing at about 88 fps with what looked like only 42 feet of space to go before we would suffer a certain and undoubtedly life threatening crash. Satan's sister swiveled her head back and jerked the wheel hard. I closed my eyes, thought about praying, decided that this close to her, that is with "evil-reincarnated" driving, my prayer would probably be sucked away into her godless void. It was probably too late, anyway. I pressed back into the seat, resigned to my fate.
I do not know how we missed the stalled traffic. I, after offering nothing in reply to the cursing, speeding, braking, yelling and screaming at me, slug #2, and the other drivers, bailed out as soon as we hit the 234 lot to finish my trip home.
I try to forget about her. But while time seems to pass, things have not gotten better. Now, my slug line has been moved three times. The traffic engineers have decided that it is better to have all the cars are canalized into a virtually impassible space confined to the furthest areas of the parking lots. The overflow parking for the 234 lot has been nearly wiped out by a continuing flood of "No Parking" signs. The Pentagon Police are out in force to "assist" our commute morning and night.
And I still have to slug to work.
The Slug and the Case Worker (4 Nov 03) - A couple of months ago I hopped into a car headed to the L'Enfant plaza area. Two women were seated in front. The passenger began to ask the driver if she'd ever dated "obsessive" men and what kind of advice she might have for an individual in such a position. The driver tried to be polite and agree that, yes, sometimes dating is a bit difficult. The passenger commenced to tell a soap-opraesq story about herself with the driver sort of nodding and saying, "Uh huh." The passenger is dating some guy who she can't decide whether to dump or not. He's calling her at all hours of the night and basically being overly involved in her life. In addition, he's working through a divorce and custody battle with his wife. He has a restraining order against him from his wife and wants help to have contact with his child. Turns out the passenger was his case worker with D.C. family services and she's trying to keep the fact that she has a relationship with him secret because if the judge in charge of the divorce/custody proceedings learns about this, then it could be problematic. This guy is living with his mother, does not have a job and is not making any serious efforts at getting one because he believes his musical career is going to cover his expenses. He's in his late thirties. The passenger is uncertain about whether or not to pursue this relationship and is asking the driver's opinion about the situation.
During most of ths story I'm sort of under the impression that these two know each other becase the driver is being fairly sympathetic and polite and because it would just be bizarre to go spilling your guts to total strangers. But as the story got weirder it became obvious that the driver did NOT know the passenger and that, in fact, she had been somehow mistaken for a therapist.
When the passenger got out the driver turned to me and said, as she pulled away, "Well, now I sure have something to tell my husband when I get home tonight," and we both cracked up.
Anger Management (23 May 03) - One morning last week around 8 a.m. a line of five or six cars awaited riders on Hunter Village Drive. The first and second cars already had three people so I got into the third car. At the same time a car horn was blowing. Unable to discern from where the sound emanated, I positioned myself in the back seat. Suddenly a noticeably, angry man appeared at the driver's window. Shaking a pointed finger at me, he shouted, you will get out of this car and ride with me; you have just defied slug etiquette! Understanding his frustration and shocked by his lack of self control, I responded, I got into this car because I thought I saw three people in the other two cars and with your anger, I will not get into your car! Well if you don't, he spurted, I'll block this guy in! Following through with his threat, he got into his car, backed up, repositioned it and attempted to do block us in. He wasn't successful. We left (with lots to talk about) and arrived the Pentagon, somewhat shaken, without further incident.
I have slugged from this site for more than 12 years and have never had any other problems. Let this be a reminder of what not to do when the backup is long and your fuse is short. We all have to get to work and slugging sometimes may not be the best way but it's the quickest.
The Stinky Ride (27 Mar 03) - Since September 11, I think I may have slugged once while getting my car fixed. Before that, I slugged for about five years straight. One evening I got a ride to Tacketts. I sat in the front, and another rider sat in the back. After we were on the road, I noticed an unpleasant smell in the car. It soon became unbearable. All sorts of thoughts were running through my mind as to what could possibly be the cause of the horrible smell. The fleeting thought of a dead body in the back of this SUV flashed through my mind. My window was cracked, so I could only lean close to the window and tilt my head so that my nose was as close to the opening in the window without looking too obvious. When we got dropped off I asked the other passenger what he thought the smell was, the man said that it was probably the dirty workout clothes and sneakers thrown on the floor at his feet in the back seat. Poor man! And I thought I had it bad in the front seat! SLP
'Twas the Slug Ride Before Christmas
Bismal (31 Oct 02) - I found this
to be a " It has all happened to us at some point"
kinda story, one morning earlier this summer a couple in a
Chevy Camaro picked me up at Potomac Mills headed for DC. We
are riding down
First Impressions (24 Oct 02) - A senator I used to work for regularly picked up slugs on his way in to the Hill from NOVA. One morning he picked a couple of ladies up and while on 395 they started to talk to each other about the no-good such-and-such who was the chairman of the subcommittee before which they were scheduled to testify that afternoon. Well, my boss kept his mouth shut and dropped the ladies off at their destination. You can imagine their surprise when my boss walked into the committee room and they realized that the "no-good such-and-such" had driven them to work that morning.
The Driver vs. the Cop (19 Apr 02) - "I thought I'd share this morning's experience with you... I've only been slugging for about a year and a half, and until today I haven't experienced anything too bizarre. This morning, slugging out of the old Hechinger lot in Woodbridge to 18th Street in DC, I was running a few minutes late, but when I got to the lot I was relieved to get a ride right away. I usually spend my mornings reading, so I don't pay a lot of attention to what goes on around me. I did notice, however, that we hit a little bit of traffic in Alexandria, but we seemed to get moving fairly quickly, and I didn't pay too much attention. Like I said, I was reading, so I don't know this for sure. When we got up near the Memorial Bridge exit, there was a line of cars down the ramp. The driver starts talking about how he hopes it's not the cops checking for HOV violators just off the exit, and how he's already called "the station" three times to complain. He also took this time to put on his seat belt. Anyway, the driver at this point says that he's going to tell them now about the traffic mess they've caused. I thought to myself, surely he won't! But we drive up to the cop, who is waving people on trying to keep traffic moving, this guy rolls down his window and hollers at this cop that there's a long line of traffic backed up. The cop tells him to keep moving, and the driver proceeds to yell at the cop. The cop tells him one more time to move on, and when the driver persists, he tells him to pull over - he's going to cite him for obstructing traffic. This guy pulls over and GETS OUT OF THE CAR to yell at the cop some more. I couldn't believe it!! After the cop yells at him some more, and he finally gets back into the car, he starts asking us if we would be willing to sign an affidavit for him attesting to the positioning of the police cruisers and the backed up traffic, because he is definitely taking this to court. After some uncomfortable silence, the guy in the back says he understands the guy's point, but he didn't feel comfortable doing that. I just nodded and kept my mouth shut. After we were a few yards away from the police, the driver removed his seat belt. When we were close to my drop-off point, the driver asked if he could at least get our names, "in case the cop lies in court." I told him I'd prefer not to. I didn't tell him that I didn't agree with much of anything that he had done or said in the past twenty minutes or so. So, to wrap this story up, I personally like it when they check for HOV violators because it's simply not fair to those of us who are honest when people cheat. I've seen the police checking for violators before at this same spot, and this is the first time traffic was backed up. And I won't get into this guy's car again. Thanks for letting me get all that out."
Slug, Those Feet Were Made for Walking! (23 Jan 02) - "For years, I slugged out of Potomac Mills...a couple of years ago I moved to Stafford, and starting slugging from 610 to L’Enfant every day. Last summer, "SUV lady" drove up, and like hundreds of rides before her, it seemed like it would be the ordinary drive into work. I hopped into her car with the usual "good morning," and closed my eyes for the usual morning nap. As we got on the ramp to 95, that nap was interrupted with a loud crash. "SUV lady" had rear-ended the car in front of her. We all jumped out of the car to assess the damage. "Little dent, I thought to myself...no big deal...let’s get to work." "SUV lady" had other ideas. She informed me and my fellow slug that she was no longer going to D.C., in fact, she was no longer going anywhere. Our ride ended there...on the ramp to 95. She refused to drive us back to the 610 lot. So, fellow slug and I decided it was time to hike back to the lot. After 15 or so minutes of walking, we saw the commuter lot in sight. Suddenly, "SUV lady" drove right by us. It appeared that she had returned to the commuter lot and picked up two more of my fellow slugs. I ended up catching another ride. Needless to say, I was over an hour late to work that day."
Old Classmate Reunion (27 Nov 01) - "Earlier this summer, I was standing at the front of the line at Potomac Mills, and a car pulled up and called out for 18th street. Unfortunately for me, not my destination. There was something awfully familiar to me though about the driver, and I could tell that she was looking at me and wondering the same thing. So I caught her eye, called out her name, Eva, and she called out mine, Kenny, in return. It was a classmate of mine that I had not seen in 25 years, we both graduated from Jacksonville High School in Jacksonville NC in 1976. I walked over, we gave each other a hug, exchanged phone numbers and emails, and talked later that day. Gave new meaning to me about the saying "it's a small world".
The Homer Simpson Slug (24 Sep 01) - "One afternoon about six years ago, I uneventfully picked up two slugs heading for Tackett's Mill from the Pentagon for the evening commute home. Both slugs were rather crisp, efficient looking officer's from separate branches of the military. As luck would have it for these two apparent strangers, both wanted to be dropped off at the "Watertower Lot" at the corner of Harbor Drive and, what is now, Minnieville Road. (Back then, the Minnieville Road at that location stilled carried the Davis Ford name.) It was easy to accommodate their request. Upon arriving at our destination after a smooth ride down I-95, the officer riding shotgun looks at me muttering as he slaps the butt of his palm to his forehead in a Homer-Simpsonesque manner, "Oh man! I just remembered, I drove in this morning. My car is still at the Pentagon. They got me working so many hours I don't know if I'm coming or going and how I got to where I went." All I could do was chuckle with him as he walked away looking for a phone so he could beg his wife to come pick him up."
The Mad Czech (21 Sep 01) - "I don't normally slug, because it is not the most convenient method for me to get into the Metro system. A bus stops about 100 yds from my front door! However, my one time doing so, I had an encounter I think you might enjoy. I was waiting at my bus-stop (not your average slug-line) when a stranger pulled up, and with a very heavy European accent, asked if I or any of the other would-be bus riders were going to the Pentagon. I was, and this was an earlier than expected ride, and it was raining, so I took him up on it. Well, he took off down Lake Braddock Drive like his tail was on fire, covering that mile and half, end to end, at an average speed that must have neared that of light. He hit Burke Lake Rd, going East, on a green, and never got below third gear through the turn onto Burke Lake Rd. He hit Braddock, still going East, on another green, and hit the bottom of the turn lane so hard I heard his shocks bottom out. By now, I was hanging onto the chicken strap for dear life! And all the way, he was making conversation as though this was everyday driving. In the conversation I found out he is a Czech interpreter for the US State Dept. I decided then, though I never told him, that I would ever after remember him as "The Mad Czech". I don't normally think in quotes and caps, but he was definitely worthy. The rest of the trip was just as harrowing, including the point at which he crossed the Edsall Rd-to-395-North on-ramp on the shoulder at (I checked, no one would ever believe an estimate like this!) 72 mph. He sliced through that traffic like it was soft butter, and he was a hot knife. By the time he hit the express lanes, I had finished praying, and figured I was in for the ride. I knew at that point, that whether we got to the Pentagon or not, the ride would be brief. Maybe spectacular, but at least short. Then, as we pulled up to the Pentagon curb (Yeah, we DID make it, otherwise I couldn't tell this story!), I realized we had made the trip down the express lanes, HOV-3, with only two of us in the car. I hadn't realized that his baby son was sitting in a car seat in the back. I was just glad we hadn't gotten stopped by the boys in blue, cause I knew if we had, he'd be riding with them, his car would be riding a hook, and I'd never have made it to work, but I would have been alive, so I would have had to try to explain this unbelievable character to my boss. Anyway, I tried to put him out of my mind, since I figured no one else could have ever had this kind of ride with him (I didn't figure it was possible for him to survive two trips like that! Boy, was I wrong!!). I had almost forgotten him when I was standing on the platform waiting for a home-bound bus about a month later, and I over-heard a conversation about a harrowing ride. Well, I had to do the macho thing, so I jumped in with "I have a good story, about a mad Czech ...". I got no further and the guy I had over-heard said "not you, too? I thought no one else had ever run into him!" and proceeded to tell me my story. Different place, different time, different start and end points, same guy, right down to the accent, the occupation, and the boy in the back. Its a small world, and happily, the mad Czech and all his unwitting passengers have survived it so far! But, look out, sit down, shut up, and above all hang on tight, if he ever offers you a ride to the Pentagon!"
Beware of the Honda #2 (20 Sep 01) -"REITERATE BEWARE THE SILVER HONDA! I MYSELF HAD THE SAME BAD EXPERIENCE WITH THE SILVER-HAIRED HONDA DRIVER FROM LONG JOHN SILVER'S SOME TIME BACK! I'M SURPRISED HE'S STILL DRIVING THE SAME CAR!"
Avoid the Brown Camry (7 Aug 01) - "I'm standing in line at Potomac Mills around 7:20 waiting for a ride to Rosslyn. A brown Toyota Camry pulls up and the female driver says she's going to Rosslyn. The woman in front of me in line gets in the front seat. I go to get in the back seat and the driver picks up a couple of soda straws and leaves me to move a straw hat, a water bottle, and a plastic bag of tapes in order to sit down. We depart Potomac Mills & get to the red light just before the highway when I feel something funny on my leg. I look down and my dress is completely soaked & stained brown! I ask if anyone has a tissue - no. I ask the driver if I can dump her tapes out & sit on the plastic bag. The driver looks around, pops the trunk, hops out & comes back with 1/4 roll of squashed, dirty paper towels. I tell her no thanks, but I'll sit on the plastic bag. The driver says casually, "oh, sorry." The light turns green & we speed off down the ramp - and she misses the exit to get onto the HOV lanes! She mumbles about being distracted by the radio and sensing bad vibes or something (I couldn't hear exactly - the rear radio speaker was thumping right at my head). "No problem," we're told, "I'll just take the next exit. Where are you going in Rosslyn?" So we reply as we speed to the Pr. Wm. Co. Parkway exit, and the driver hesitates as to which exit ramp to take. She takes the first ramp, speeds to the first light & pulls an illegal u-turn. We quickly get onto the HOV lanes and start "bookin' it" for Rosslyn...weaving through cars...checking her cell phone...using her inhaler... I wanted to get out of the car SO bad! I just sat back silently & prayed we made it to Rosslyn safely. And we did. Our car gets stopped at the first red light just before the Newseum. The passenger in the front seat hops out - and I gladly bail out right behind her (heck, what's a few extra blocks to walk when your 7 months pregnant). I thank the other rider for getting out & she tells me she's never had an experience as bad as what we just went through. Also, I found out from her that when the driver asked us where we were going in Rosslyn, that the driver really wanted to go to the Pentagon. Go figure. Well, at least we made it to work safely." JW
Beware of the Honda (3 Aug 01) - "A few weeks ago a Latino man and his wife(?) pulled up to Long John Silver’s – actually they backed up to the line, quickly and somewhat frantically. I should have known then. Anyhow, the ride was a nightmare. Not only did he drive at very high speeds (with one hand holding his wife’s hand the entire time) but he also drove extremely aggressively – regularly crossing four lanes in one swoop and frenetically changing lanes to get ahead. He was obviously in a hurry, but I just sat there hoping that we wouldn’t get killed and disbelieving that this guy’s driving skills. I was so grateful to make it to my destination. When I got out of the car I crossed behind the car and quickly glanced at the license plate number. I wasn’t sure why, but I felt the need to note it - maybe to avoid getting in his vehicle again. Well, he puts the car in park and jumps out, asking me why I looked at his license plate. I calmly explained that he drove like a maniac and that he scared the heck out of me. He started arguing with me, explaining that he was in a big rush because he had a 9:00 a.m. meeting. That’s some excuse for endangering lives – both mine and those of other drivers. So, if you see this man in his light blue, 4-door Honda Civic with VA license plate MIK-215 (I think), AVOID HIM."
Blue Van Terror (31 July 01) - "Last Friday, I slugged to Tackett's Mill from Rosslyn. This other gentlemen and I rode with a lady driving a van who also had another female passenger. Everything was going fine until the driver got on 395 and then she decided she had to get down the road in a hurry. I looked at the fellow passenger next to me and we both just put our heads down so we wouldn't have to watch how crazy this lady was driving. She must have been driving 80 to 90 miles an hour and then got behind a motorcycle, and I mean right behind him within a foot or two. Then she whipped around him into the next lane only to go back to the same lane. It was like this all the way down 95. I'm not sure how much she was paying attention because she was very busy carrying on a conversation with the front seat passenger and looking more at her than the road. Then when we get onto Old Bridge Road she did the same thing. I thought for sure she was going to run smack into the bus in front of her. I really appreciate the free ride, and I am just thankful we made it home safe and sound. Riders beware of the crazy lady in the teal blue van!" submitted by CH
New Driver Needs Help (2 July 01) - "I am a relatively new slugger. I started slugging about a month ago, and am amazed at the time and money I save. The experience I had a few weeks ago however cracked me up (and reminded me a lot of previous Foreign Tourists Use Slugging story). I had been in line for a few minutes and was next for an 18th St. car, when a gentleman in a Cadillac drove up and yelled 18th St. As me and a youth lady got in his car (me in the front seat) he turned and asked me "what's the best way to get to 18th St? 14th St. or Memorial Bridge?" I advised Memorial Bridge. As we approached the exit for Memorial Bridge, he turned to me once again and said "You'll have to help me out here." I was shocked. I was more than happy to tell him where to go, but I had the feeling of "If you don't know where you're going, don't pick up slugs". As we came up to L St., he asked me where Dupont Circle was. I told him and thanked him for the ride. He enthusiastically thanked me for helping him. I'm ! just glad it wasn't my first day of slugging, cause God knows where we would have ended up."
The Flirt and Slug (20 May 01) - "I used to slug from Potomac Mills in the morning, arriving about 6:15. One morning I overslept and arrived at about 7:40. People who frequent the Potomac Mills lot know that once the limited number of spaces fill up (which usually happens at about 7:30), then they can park across the street in front of Michael's. It was my first time parking at Michael's, and I was thrilled to find at least seven cars calling out different destinations. One of them said "Crystal City," so I hopped in the car. Since there was already another slug in the backseat, off we went. We were making great time and had just passed Duke Street when the driver chuckled and said "Okay, we have a little confession to make." My eyes flew open and I lifted my head. "Excuse me?" He then informed me that his backseat passenger (whom he'd attempted to flirt with the entire time, until she put her head back and closed her eyes) was actually going to ROSSLYN, and not CRYSTAL CITY. Then he asked me if I'd mind if we dropped her off first because it wouldn't take long and because he was parking in Crystal City. I then asked him why he had called out Crystal City when he already had a passenger for Rosslyn, and he responded "Well, we were getting tired of waiting, and I'm really sorry and all, but you don't mind do you?" Of course I minded, but what could I really do?! Shame on you, supposed upstanding member of Ebenezer Baptist Church! Incidentally, I rode with the same gentleman about a month and a half ago. I didn't recognize him until I'd gotten to Crystal City (without any pit stops, I'm happy to report) because he was driving a different car and I sat in the back. If I had recognized him, I would have reminded him of his bad etiquette and probably taken the next ride. I now slug from Horner, but if you slug from Michael's, make sure your driver is actually going to the destination they call out! Be safe!"
Let There Be Air (1 May 01) - "For those of you who pride yourself in knowing and following good "slug" etiquette, I'd like to suggest that when a slug requests to roll down the windows, the best response is "if you need to please do." You might even say, "I plan to run the air conditioner and would prefer to keep them up, but if you need to please do." I learned that this is probably the best response when I first began using the slug system. One day, as I drove home, a gentleman asked if he could roll down the window. I replied that I intended to run the air conditioner and would prefer to leave the windows up. Our exchange was cordial, but a half minute later I regretted my decision and couldn't roll down the window fast enough! The gentleman was beet-red from embarrassment, but in all fairness, he had tried politely to spare us."
Playing by the Rules (26 Mar 01) - "Last Friday at Horner Road I was pleasantly surprised to find that for once the ratio of cars to sluggers was in my favor--as a slugger! On my way from my car to the line, I was "solicited" by several drivers waiting for riders. However, I played by the rules and waited until I got to the head of the line and was glad to be rewarded with someone going my way--the Pentagon. As I went to get in the car, another driver pulled up next to us shouting "Pentagon" as well. I declined, and again started to get in the first car in line. At that point another rider approached. The "cheating" driver started her calling out again, but I quietly said to the other rider that the long line of cars had many people Pentagon-bound and that they had been waiting awhile. At which point, he shrugged and headed to the "cheating" driver anyway. So I also shrugged and continued to climb into my designated car. Then the "cheating" driver leaned out of her window to yell all sorts of nasties to! me (questioning my parentage and my children's parentage mostly) and essentially telling me to mind my own business. My poor driver seemed embarrassed, but thanked me to sticking up for the folks who wait in line properly; the guy in the back thought it was funny. I was kinda worried about pulling onto the HOV at the same time with this "cheating" driver who was well into road-rage at 0630 in the morning and I made the point of avoiding eye contact with her. I don't know if this is a usual event for her, but I hope no one else has to go through it like I did. Has anyone else experienced such pure nastiness?"
Foreign Tourists Use Slugging ( 11 Jan 01) - "Summer 2000 I got a ride for "one to the Pentagon" from the Horner Road commuter lot. As I climbed into the sedan and offered my "good morning," one of the two gentlemen turned to me and asked--with a heavy accent--"what do we do now?" It turns out these two were foreign businessmen staying in Woodbridge and were heading into DC for a day of leisure. The desk clerk at their motel had suggested that the fastest way to get into DC was to collect "a slug" and use the HOV. Turns out they didn't want to go to the Pentagon, but that is what they heard the driver in front of them "yell out," so they did as well. By the time I figured this out, we were almost to Springfield. I coached them into South Parking, tried to give them some idea of how to get back to I-395, and wished them "good luck" as I jumped out of the car. I have no idea if they ever made it to their ultimate destination. But I have since always checked to make sure the drivers mean whatever they say!"
We're NOT Stopping at the Pentagon! (8 Aug 00) - "I was waiting in the Potomac Mills Line to go to the Pentagon one morning, when a vehicle drove up and yelled out "Pentagon". So, myself and another slugger jumped into the Black Maxima and on our way to the Pentagon we went. Well, the driver was in a total state of frenzy. Apparently she'd had a very hectic morning and her day was not going her way at all. As we approached the Pentagon exit, she said in a very frantic, psycho kind-of voice, "We're not stopping at the Pentagon". I looked at her and asked "why not, that is where we said we were going and that is what you yelled out." She said she didn't have time to stop because she was running late and she couldn't be late anymore, and if one more bad thing happened that she was going to "crack up". Myself and the gentleman in the back were in shock. He was screaming at the top of his lungs, so was she! He was saying that he would have her arrested for kidnapping! She was yelling "WHATEVER! WHATEVER!" to everything he was yelling. I got so tickled, that I could not stop laughing at the two of them. Of course with all the laughing and change of course - I had to go to the ladies room on top of everything else. They screamed back and forth all the way to somewhere around Farugut North. Actually, it worked out better for me because I would have had to change to the red line to go to Friendship Heights anyway. But, Mister Man was truly pissed off! The driver gave him a $5 bill to catch the metro back to the Pentagon ( I guess to drop the kidnapping charge -smile) and I think he made a few dollars profit!! Hopefully, the driver didn't lose her job and got the Prozac that she needed to balance her her life. What a Way to Start your Day!!!!!!!"
New Yorkers Amazed at Slugging (7 Sep 00) - "Being a relatively new slug, I try to observe the unwritten rules such as no talking. Recently, however, I had the pleasure of conversing for most of the trip to DC one morning with a very nice couple. They apparently just moved to VA from NY City and I was their lucky first slug. They were amazed how something like this could work. The man just kept laughing and said a system like this would never work in NY. The experience of actually talking was a very pleasant one. We even introduced ourselves by name!"
Pouring Down Rain Mistake!!
(28 Jun 00) -
Having been in the metropolitan area for about 6 weeks, I purchased a home in Dale City and began researching the mass transit available to
me. The first day in my new home, I drove to what I thought was the nearest commuter parking lot and took an Omnibus into Washington. It was a
dark and stormy day! In the afternoon, I managed to find the pickup location for the return bus and road back to Dale City during a terrific
thunderstorm. Not ever having discussed my travel situation with a local, I had made some assumptions based on the Omnibus bus schedule--I
thought I had gotten on at the Dale City Commuter Lot. Therefore, I told the driver to let me know when we arrived at this particular lot--which
he did. I jumped off the bus in the pouring rain, looked around and could not see my car! Then I began to realize, the lot did not look like
the one in which I had left my car either! I tramped out to Dale Blvd in the still heavy rain--in my new, expensive heels and without !
an umbrella--and discovered my whereabouts. I had actually parked behind the fire department at Hillendale--and I furiously walked that
A Driver on Autopilot (20 June 00) - "Once upon a beautiful Spring morning in the days of HOV-4, I hopped into the front seat of a car driven by a man wearing headphones attached to a Walkman. A box on the front seat clued me in that he was listening to a book-on-tape. The ride was fine until we passed the exit ramp to the Pentagon. I looked over at the driver, thinking maybe there was another exit up ahead that I didn't know about yet. He was staring straight ahead. I turned and looked at the other Slugs in the back seat and they were looking at me with eyebrows raised, wearing expressions like, "DO something!" I tapped the driver on the forearm after we were in D.C. Startled, he glanced at me, yanked off his headphones and got his bearings. He was so engrossed in his story that he'd been driving on "Auto Pilot"! He was absolutely mortified and apologized to us profusely as he turned around and drove us to the Pentagon. I felt bad for him and joked that since it was a Friday morning and the cherry blossoms were in bloom, he could take us for spin around the Tidal Basin and then out for breakfast. We all had a chuckle over that, but I was delivered to my destination with an empty stomach and late. I never saw this driver again -- perhaps in his embarrassment he took to riding the bus?"
Waiting Your Turn (14 June 00) - A while back there was a curb added to the Rolling Valley mall parking area. It was a perfect way to keep cars from getting backed up onto Old Keene Mill Road. The traffic generally moves quite nicely at this location and as a driver I marvel at the law of supply and demand in action. I would like to appeal however to all those drivers who merge into the line from the west end of the lot. There are generally several cars who have been waiting their turn in line and it can be rather annoying to see a car pull right up to the front and get uptight about not being allowed access immediately. I was taught to wait my turn in line from the time I was in Kindergarten and i know most others were also. Please be kind, courteous, and patient. Everyone will get a rider or two if they need it. Thanks to all those who are pleasant in the AM. It helps me get my day off to a good start.
Avoid that Chevette Driver! (9 May 00) The following was submitted from Bill - "Back in the days of the single HOV lanes south of Springfield, myself and another slug at the Pentagon jumped in a Chevy Chevette with a woman driver. The car was filthy inside, and the driver unkempt with wild grey hair. She had on a radio talk show and as we started down the I-395 HOV lanes she began to yell and berate the talk show participants. I, in the front seat, and the other man, in the back, exchanged somewhat concerned glances. When we reached the single HOV lane south of Springfield our driver noticed a violator in front of us. She began to blow the horn of her car and to scream out the driver's window, cursing the violator. Just before we reached the Newington exit, the violator moved into a regular lane, knowing, as we all did, that the state troopers liked to hide behind the overpass, on the left side of the HOV lane. The driver continued to curse the violator, and as we reached the inevitable motorcycle cop beyond the underpass, she came to a complete stop in the HOV lane and tried to give the violator's license number to the astonished cop. He, in turn, stood up and said, "Move on, lady, move on." Our driver did move on, and she was now cursing the trooper, in a rather loud voice. When we were about half way from Newington to Lorton our driver looked in her rear view mirror, and noticed a violator behind us. She now began to curse this new fiend and, removing her foot from the accelerator, began to slow the Chevette. We had originally been travelling about 40 mph, but soon we were doing 35, then 30, and then 25. By the time we had reached 15 mph the violator was on our bumper, blowing his horn, and no doubt doing some cursing of his own. At this point the wild woman crushed the accelerator to the floor and we rapidly reached 40 mph again. She then slammed on the brakes and came to a complete stop. The violator, upset with the slowing technique, had accelerated rapidly behind us, and was not expecting the sudden stop.! He hit his brakes and managed to halt his pick-up before !running into the rear of the Chevette. Unfortunately, the driver behind him also did not expect a sudden stop and, though braking at the time, ran into the rear of the pick-up, as evidenced by the loud crash and sudden short leap forward of the pickup. Our driver floored the gas pedal of the Chevette just as the pickup was coming to a halt behind us. We were on our way down the road as the crash occurred. The lady cackled all the way to the Horner Road HOV exit. There, at the end of the one exit lane, were two of Virginia's finest, waiting to catch violators trying to use the 'HOV Only' egress. Our driver, true to form, came to a complete stop, with other traffic lining up behind her, and began informing the troopers of the accident that had occurred back near Lorton, and how it had been caused by a violator. When asked to "move on" she was not even upset, as, unlike during the previous encounter with the motorcycle cop, she felt she had won a great victory. What about! myself and the other rider? We didn't say a word. Once on firm ground, with the silhouette of the chevette diminishing in the distance, we exchanged glances, nodded, and headed to our own vehicles. Who knows, she could have had a gun or knife under the seat. At any rate, she was nuts."
Near Misses at Long John's Silvers (1 Apr 00) - "My comment is about the near misses that occur regulary at the Long John's in Springfield. Can't the drivers who pick up riders for Memorial Bridge do like the other line, quit blocking traffic?!! Why can't they pull up further, or even park the car and stand in line like the other line does. It would free up the lanes for oncoming traffic, and the riders won't have to play the "dodge the cars" game as much!"
Frustrated Slugger (23 Dec 99) - "This is just a note to let you know that there are some drivers who are getting extremely frustrated with the new "system". I am a sometimes driver who tries to pick up slugs to Tacketts when I can get away on time. The last three times I have been over, the gridlock has been so bad that I have given up in frustration. Is there any plan to reqork the system to eliminate the need to go counter to reasonable traffic flow in order to pick up slugs?
John's Story (28 Nov 99) - "I was picked up at Potomac Mills by a guy who happened to work in the same office building as me. We started small talk and soon realized that that was not all we had in common. We both graduated high school the same year, 1984 (he from Hayfield, I from West Springfield), he knew people I knew from my HS and one of my best friends that went to his HS, he knew. It is not often that I bump into people who grew up in this area."
Dave's Story (4 Oct 99) - "This happened back in the summer but one day I stopped at the wrong slug line on 14th street. I wanted slugs for Tackett's Mill or Potomac Mills but I stopped a Springfield line. Anyway, it was incredibly hot that day so when I called out Tackett's Mill I think the only thing these two guys were thinking of was to get out of the heat. Well, they jumped in and a few seconds later and about 100 yds down the road they asked me where I was going (I guess to confirm) and when I said Tackett's they both said STOP! I took them back to the slug line but I think they were a little ticked.....sorry."
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