I remember a lot of afternoons spent in 3rd grade writing letters to people I didn’t know. Pen pals once. A mission in Africa or India another time. I don’t recall much of the content of these letters. I just know that Mrs. Hogan would give us a topic to write on and some important points to hit. Make sure you sign the letter in cursive. That sort of thing.
I mention this only because Internet Inc. apparently gave some 3rd grade class a bunch of clocks recently so they could learn how to tell time. Plastic, analog clocks with movable arrow hands so kids can set them and learn about quarter past and half past. I didn’t know this until I walked into the break room today and saw a handful of letters on construction paper, looseleaf and other material you never see outside of an elementary school. Children drew pictures of Big Ben, or of wristwatches, or of digital clocks with red slashes through them (purge the heretical devices!). THANK YOU FOR THE CLOCK, seemed to be the general theme. We stood around, sifting through the letters, laughing at (without really mocking) the diction and handwriting of our unknown beneficiaries.
You’re probably thinking that the moral of this story is that some office full of my 1987 counterparts stood around and mocked my handwriting back in the day. Don’t be silly. They didn’t even have the Internet in 1987.
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I haven’t gone full-on hypermiling yet, but I have started to pay more attention to the way I drive. I do most of my driving in the city and suburbs, so I never have to go more than 30-40 MPH, and usually much slower. The rules of thumb I follow:
- never let the engine needle get more than one or two ticks above 2000 RPM.
- Take my foot off the gas when I know I’m going to have to stop or turn ahead.
The result: every driver in Cambridge now hates me. Hates me with a passion. They ride my bumper, edge into the next lane as if to pass me, or occasionally flick their brights at me. They pull alongside me, glaring with that rage unique to drivers, shocked to find I’m not an old man or an Asian woman. I’m not driving any slower than I ever did – I’m just accelerating slower. But that makes all the difference.