Sunday 3 August 2014

Slugging – Real Rules or Misunderstood Myths?

In one of the last articles we talked about the phenomena of slugging – a trend that started in Washington DC in 70’s that has been growing in popularity ever since. It is an act that was invented for the benefit of all parties included, the driver and the rider aka “slugger”. 

So how is it done?

You see, when going to the work in most of the US metropolises and other large cities every single day you’ll most probably find yourself getting stuck in the traffic and moving at speed of two inches per minute more than you’d like too. 
Just next to you, there’s an empty lane, as far as eye can see, just calling you to join it. But you can’t, as it’s only reserved for HOV (High Occupancy Vehicles). So drivers and “sluggers” thought of an idea – casually pooling a random car and driving in it with the driver.

This trend was presented with lots of controversies such as the aspect of safety of both the driver and the slugger, as well as awkwardness of the situation.

Funny enough, it proved to be everything contrary – people found themselves making new friends, having fun and someone to talk to while reaching their workplace, while both drivers and sluggers being able to arrive at their desired destination much easier and more quickly.
Yet, as everything rising in popularity, it has generated lots of controversies and false conceptions and rules news reporters and mainstream media finds enjoyable to present to the public as a fact while it has nothing to do with common sense and the reality of “casual carpooling”. Reporters do have a tendency to talk on things they are less aware of.

In the video above you’ll see the reporter stating an “official” rule at the end – don’t start a conversation unless driver does first.

As a person who has been participating in this trend for decades I must disagree with this. You see, the key to an enjoyable ride for both the slugger and the driver is a mutual respect of each other’s space, time and personalities. You are more than free to kindly start a conversation yet if a rider doesn’t respond or uses one word answers, just let it be. There are people who really enjoy their quite time – respect that.

In today’s economy we are spending money in order to network and meet new people, while if done respectfully, an unknown rider who is talking next to you can prove to be your new best client, contractor or business partner. One of them was for me.

I guess this myth started because most of the Washington DC drivers worked for the federal government and were not allowed to talk about their work. But there’s no reason not to talk at all – try it, you can make a good friend.