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Thursday, November 04, 2010

A chilling silhouette

I left for work on the early side this morning, so took my time... enjoying the crisp morning air on my scooter as I rode through the south Hebron hills.

There is a fork nearly half-way to Beer Sheva where one can go right or remain straight.

The right turn would take me on a route which is about ten minutes shorter, but the road that goes straight follows a more scenic route. The two roads rejoin one another about 20 minutes north of Beer Sheva.

On nice days when I'm not in a hurry, I generally go straight. If I'm in a hurry or the weather is bad, I turn right. Today I continued straight into the bright morning sunshine.

After a few kilometers I found myself stuck behind a car. Even though it was going a bit slower than I would have preferred... I remained a respectful distance behind him and used the slower pace to take in some of the scenery that I might have missed if I were going faster.

As we rounded a bend in the windy road, the car in front of me suddenly jammed on his brakes and went into a crab-skid towards the shoulder.

Luckily I wasn't following too closely, but not wanting to lock up the brakes on the scooter, I slowed as quickly as I could and swerved around the left side of the car... hoping against hope that I would be able to stop before I got to whatever it was that the car had been trying to avoid.

As I passed abreast of the car, I caught sight of what had spooked the driver, and instead of continuing to brake, I grabbed a handful of throttle and shot forward as fast as I could, swerving the scooter from side to side and ducking my head as low to the handlebars as possible without losing sight of the road.

This change of heart came about because there on the left shoulder less than 50 meters ahead of where the car had skidded to a stop stood a man. He was standing facing the direction from which we were coming... with his left elbow tucked into his chest... his right elbow cocked out to the side... his head tilted slightly to the side...and his hands cradling something dark and metallic in front of his face.

As the sun shining from behind the man glinted off the top of what was surely a telescopic scope, I suddenly took in the entirety of the chilling silhouette that had sent the driver of the car into a panicked skid. It was an ambush, and I was staring at the dark outline of a man aiming a rifle directly at me.

Within a few seconds I'd gotten the scooter up to about 120 Kph, but never-the-less braced for the impact of the bullet while praying that my swerving and acceleration would be enough to throw off his aim.

Even with the burst of speed, it seemed like it took an hour to pull abreast of the man... and as I passed him, I turned my head to get a better look. But to my surprise he hadn't turned his aim towards me as I had expected him to. Instead, he was still peering through his scope...

... a scope that I could now clearly see was sitting atop a surveyor's tripod... aimed at an assistant's marker on the other side near the bend in the road we'd just rounded.

It's almost an hour later as I write this, and I haven't stopped shaking. I'm thinking maybe they should put up a 'men at work' sign or something.

'scuse me while I go puke.

Posted by David Bogner on November 4, 2010 | Permalink

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just reading that i felt my heart speed up into overdrive.... How scary....

Posted by: Hadassah | Nov 4, 2010 2:37:19 PM

I concur about the road sign, but I'm thinking they don't post them because they could (did?) get stolen and used for some other nefarious purpose?

Glad you're safe, and hope your racing heart slows, and nausea passes soon.

Posted by: Jethro | Nov 4, 2010 3:00:26 PM

Before I got to the key lines,I thought surveyor,because you were still here to write about it. A dangerous situation for drivers and the surveyors.

Posted by: Ed | Nov 4, 2010 3:32:58 PM

You GOTTA quit letting me know this stuff through the flippin' blog!

Sheesh!

Posted by: Zahava | Nov 4, 2010 3:37:01 PM

The post above was mine... didn't realize that David had commented previously and was still logged on as him....

Posted by: zahava | Nov 4, 2010 3:39:08 PM

Yes, for safety's sake there should be a warning. Report this. It'll calm your stomach to do something to prevent a serious accident.

Posted by: Batya | Nov 4, 2010 3:39:10 PM

Oy...scare the cr*p out of us next time, ok?

Posted by: orieyenta | Nov 4, 2010 3:40:21 PM

very scary- don't think i would have been as calm as you- jack bauer would be proud- glad your'e ok

Posted by: roberti | Nov 4, 2010 4:01:16 PM

There will never be such signs. Imagine how useful a sign that says "construction ahead, slow down" would be to unfriendly folks luring drivers into shooting ambushes? The target will naturally slow down just in time to be decimated by a hail of bullets!

Posted by: Mark | Nov 4, 2010 5:26:35 PM

Glad to hear you're ok. You know, with that Apple fetish of yours I am surprised that you haven't purchased the Apple Force Field that Emperor Jobs is selling. Not only does it provide complete protection, whenever you enter/leave a room it plays the Imperial March.

Shouldn't that surveyor have been wearing a reflective vest?

Posted by: Jack | Nov 4, 2010 6:48:36 PM

Oh my goodness, I'm feeling queezy just thinking about it.

Posted by: Kiwi Noa | Nov 4, 2010 7:48:26 PM

Warnings, please! I was terrified reading this. Thank G-d you are OK.

Posted by: SaraK | Nov 4, 2010 8:04:45 PM

garrrrrrrrrrrhhhhh!!!

Posted by: uberimma | Nov 4, 2010 9:17:30 PM

...and then, there are those of us who never even have to think of these things. Some of us don't always know how 'lucky' we are. Sure, we have/have had terrorism in the UK of international and home-grown variety, and some recent crazy gunmen running amok, but I can't imagine David's (or the other driver's) thoughts going through my head as a matter of routine in a scenario like that over here.

Hope your heart beats a little stiller now.

Posted by: Ken | Nov 4, 2010 11:22:06 PM

As soon as I read this I thought "I hope he called or emailed Zahava before she read the post." From the comments, I'm guessing not. Whew!!! Has all the adrenaline drained out of you yet??

Posted by: JDMDad | Nov 5, 2010 12:54:49 AM

I can say this now that I know this was a case of mistaken identity of a metal implement - I wonder if, when those guys took their coffee break, they sat there talking about the weird guy on the shiny red scooter who was weaving all over the road: "What do you think was wrong with him?"

(Zahava, I really think you should just pour yourself a stiff bourbon before you read David's blogs.)

So glad it was a whole lotta nothing, and hope you've managed to calm down by now (um, if it were me? I'd still be shaking til next Tuesday).

Posted by: Alissa | Nov 5, 2010 1:40:31 AM

So glad you are ok.
Shabbat shalom!

Posted by: Nir in London | Nov 5, 2010 2:20:47 PM

Next time I'm motivated to mutter an obscenity as I pass an elderly lady tootling along at 25 MPH under the speed limit, I'll think of this story and be grateful for the road hazards I don't have to deal with.

Posted by: Elisson | Nov 5, 2010 4:51:40 PM

What I would describe as a 'false positive paradox'. I have a feeling that you have a more effective PSD than most of your country's leaders think they have, its invisible, don't bother looking for it. :-)

Zahava - the PSD are interconnected with you in a mysterious way, so chill out!....my 2 cents 'evangelism' yada-yada-yada.

Posted by: Rami | Nov 7, 2010 5:48:24 AM

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