Thursday, January 17, 2008

Ice, Ice, Baby

Walking 'round the room singing Stormy Weather,
At Fifty-Seven Mt. Pleasant Street.
Now it's the same room but everything's different,
You can fight the sleep but not the dream.

Things ain't cookin' in my kitchen,
Strange affliction wash over me.
Julius Caesar and the Roman Empire,
Couldn't conquer the blue sky.

There's a small boat made of china,
Going nowhere on the mantlepiece.
Do I lie like a loungeroom lizard,
Or do I sing like a bird released?

Everywhere you go,
you always take the weather with you,
Everywhere you go,
you always take the weather with you.

Take The Weather With You
Crowded House, from the album Woodface, 1992

So the Tar Heel State has had its first taste of winter weather this week. It's about time, I was afraid for a while that the whole continent had drifted south towards the tropics and the 32 billion species of disease-vectoring mosquitoes that thrive in the fever swamps down there. We ended up with more disappointment than snow, naturally, but school was canceled so the kids are happy nonetheless.

The adults, on the other hand, went completely bat shit.

It's a little known fact, one I mentioned in my last Postcard, that Southerners and ice typically don't mix well. Our normal reaction - and you could be forgiven for assuming that this is required by state law for all residents over 18 to behave this way- is to stampede to the closest grocery store and buy copious amounts of bread, milk and eggs. No idea why, it's just a Dixie tradition. If the power stays on, we're having French Toast. Power goes out, we're throwing rotten eggs at each other.

So Mrs. Gnu stopped by the local Wal-2-Wal-Martians Supercenter to pick up a few things. State law, remember, and we're law-and-order types. The place was packed. Chock full of the entire county population, in a full-contact deathmatch for the last scraps of uncooked toast. Most of her list went unscavenged and she beat a hasty retreat before someone tagged her to go in the cage to take on Marge Trailertrash for the championship.

Then the weather forecasts finally solidified and agreed that, yes, we were actually getting something. Maybe snow, more likely sleet, most likely just that cold, wet rain that gets inside your coat collar and freezes you to the bone. Of course what falls down and melts during the day will freeze at night. I made the call to work from home today and let Darwin run its course on the highways this morning and evening, and thin the commuting herd out a bit.

Sure enough, reports came in from all over of people playing billiards in two-ton sardine cans all over the roads. Every year this happens: a thin sheen of ice and people completely forget about the laws of Physics. You get four basic types out there causing trouble on the roads:

1. The busy executive, driving the pricey small-penis-compensator who's too fucking important to plan ahead, slow the fuck down and allow extra time to get to work. You'll find them smashed up the ass of the last car they tried to pass before the lane closed down.

2. Captain Fucktard, proud new owner of a shiny big honkin' SUV that he bought just for this occassion. God only knows why he seems to think 4x4=TANK. But you can see the end results of four wheels actively engaged to that Hemi drivetrain but still spinning wildly out of control, as you pass by the Century Oak tree he just wrapped himself around. Dumbass.

3. The Citizen Snowplow, sauntering along in the left-hand lane at speeds normally considered too fast for continental drift. While it may be sensible to slow down a little when winter weather hits, these folks take it way too far and usually end up with a busy executive crammed up their ass.

4. Maladjusted Yankees. Every November, you hear them say, "We know how to drive in snow. We're from the Great White North!" Every January, you find them in the ditches, every last one of them. Right where we left 'em.

As for me, I'm waiting out this localized apocalypse, bunkered down in my zombie-proof house.

With French Toast.


Tim said...

Dear Larry,

I <3 you, do you <3 me?

[]yes []no (pick one)


suyapi said...

Damn you and your ice zombie proof house!

I've worked with some of those same stupid yankees (and the others, too, but that's another story). One woman didn't believe me that north roads in snow and south roads in snow are mucho different. Yelling matches ensued. Then it snowed and she missed killing someone by about a foot. I am not kidding here (but will not regale you with the details). No more yelling matches after she told me this story, just a lot of laughing and I told you so by me. For some reason she stopped telling me stories.

Larriken said...

The college I went to eons ago (Yay Spartans! Get more Trojans!!) recruited heavily in New Jersey. Every year, we'd get these smartmouth asswipes laughing at us about driving on ice and every year we were the ones pulling them out of the ditches. Never failed, the first storm of winter had every Yankee flying off the embankments.