ARFcats are definitely not cats who wish to be dogs and proceed to arf instead of meow.  Nor are they kitties in doggy drag.  In fact, ARF Cats have zero to do with the animal kingdom.

ARFcats, or shall we shorten that to the acronym, ARFs, are found primarily, and in this conversation, exclusively behind the wheel of a car.  Some of the more calloused call them QTips but that term is bound to white hair, frizby hats, and the headless, most found in Buicks.  P.S. we have a Buick.

No, ARFs encompass a larger profile.  A large percentage bear the same characteristics of QTips, but we have to expand those boundaries to include all ages, educational levels, vocations, and experience.  Approximately 8 times a week I find myself directly behind or up to 6th in a slinky string of vehicles trailing a Bubba or Sister ARF at 10mph under the speed limit for miles.  I have mentioned before that East Tennessee’s roads are more twisty and/or hilly than straight and/or flat or even flattish-like.  Therefore, passing is seldom an option.

ARFs are consistently 5 to 10mph under the posted speed limit in ideal conditions, many times annoyingly occupying the interstate lane left of the big trucks, slow down to 1mph to make right turns, dismiss the turn signals as optional, believe parking lights suffice at dusk, won’t use the left turn lane until 2.3 yards prior to the actual turn but gradually slow to the aforementioned 1mph a half mile before the turn.  The list could go on and on.  They may not make a right turn on red but some will not hesitate to make a left turn on red.  It is truly a puzzlement.

But my favorite ARF, demonstrating the characteristic of lack of experience, is the lady at work who was still high on adrenalin on a morning following an accumulation of a dusting of snow, some of which lingered on some curves, a very tricky situation, one on which I could have advised her to “coast and keep your dang foot as far fom the brake as possible” or simply “stay home.”  She was recounting her adventure in the coffee room.  “I saw some white on the road ahead and shoved both feet on the brake as hard as I could.”  wow.

ARFcat is a partial acronystic phrase meaning Anal Retentive Fraidy Cat.  No one wants to use the A word in polite company.  I certainly am not recommending the use of a commonly selected finger displayed in an ARF’s direction, nor the claw which is my signal of choice in especially intense near death escapes.  But one thing you can do to relieve tension when you encounter ARFs is simply to…… bark.


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