Surviving an encounter with the Putterer |

Surviving an encounter with the Putterer

Jarid Shipley
Features Editor

Some days I should just listen to my instincts – which usually means staying home and not interacting with the outside world.

That’s exactly what happened to me earlier this week, every fiber of my being told me to stay home on my day off, but no. I had errands to run and ventured out.

Big mistake.

So I hop into my periwinkle car (seriously, that’s the best description of color I have found – also the answer to the question, why does Jarid cry) and head to Virginia City.

One down, one to go.

All I had to do was complete the drive from Virginia City to Western Nevada College, then home and I was good.

It was on the drive, just past Airport Road on Highway 50, that I encountered the “Putterer,” an elderly gentleman who appears to be no younger than 100, puttering along on down the road – in my lane.

This was my punishment for leaving the house – and probably for lying to my high school girlfriend about that “rash.” I have to be in the slow lane to get onto the bypass and this guy is going 15 FREAKIN’ miles an hour.

As I am stuck there, moving at the speed of a one-legged guy in a marathon, I take note of the vehicle that is impeding my return home. It’s what I guess to be a 1957 Datsun, faded blue featuring an original Ormsby County license plate. It is covered with every type of U.S. Marine Corp. bumper sticker imaginable.

In the beginning, I focus on my breathing and try to come up with some logical reason why you would go 15 FREAKIN’ miles an hour on a highway.

Perhaps his car is broken – no his blinkers would be on.

Perhaps his car was made before blinkers were invented – no because he has brake lights, which he has repeatedly used to keep the car at an overzealous 15 FREAKIN’ miles an hour.

Perhaps he doesn’t see me and will speed up when he does – No because the car doesn’t have any FREAKIN’ MIRRORS. No rearview mirror, no side mirrors, nothing.

Then, as if to further increase my blood pressure, the world’s longest stream of uninterrupted semis engulfs the other lane, trapping me behind the Putterer.

As if on cue, he slows down – to look at the empty field on his right side.

It’s an empty FREAKIN’ field – what does it remind you of your childhood growing up in Burnt Scrotum, Kansas, back in 1850? Seriously – use the other pedal.

As I continue to wait with my blinker on, hoping for a nice trucker to offer me a reprieve – I quietly wished for things that, looking back, I probably shouldn’t have.

I regret wishing that horrible demise involving the bear on Matlock and I don’t want Angela Lansbury to perish from an infected paper cut. I was mad, but at the time I needed an outlet for my anger.

The only justice I received was that with agonizing slowness – like watching the director’s cut of “The Notebook” – the torture ended and I turned onto the bypass headed toward College Parkway. As I headed safely away from the Putterer, I looked in my rearview mirror to see his next victim come to a screeching halt and throw his hands up.

Apparently he had also ignored his instincts – or was on the way to get that rash looked at.

Ever been stuck behind a Putterer? Tell me about it on the Party of One blog at

• Jarid Shipley is the Features Editor for the Nevada Appeal. Contact him a or 881-1217.