Thursday, December 08, 2005

Snow in the offing

So apparently it's going to snow 4-9 inches here beginning tonight and ending tomorrow noon. This will be the first snow of the season. Well, to be accurate, we already had a couple of inches of snow earlier this week, but that was mere nipple-tickling foreplay compared to the humongous ejaculatory deluge of snow we are expected to receive tonight. Hopefully I might find it impossible to dig my car out in the morning, thus not having to show my face at work tomorrow.

Since I have lived in the ice-ridden bitterly cold New Hampshire tundra for a couple of years, frequently, I find myself feeling a bit of condescension towards the citizens of Pennsylvania who are, to me, a species that have not quite adapted to snow as well as I have. For example, when you know it's going to snow heavily, the typical New England snow connoisseur lifts his windshield wipers so that they stay above the windshield. Why do they do it? Who the fuck knows? All I know is in New Hampshire, everybody used to do it. So I know it has to be done, and so, I do it too. It's my own private piece of elitism. And then when I see people here with their wipers clinging to their windshields during a snow storm, ah you poor saps, I say to myself, smiling from the knowledge of being wiser than the common man.

Also, clearing roadways after a snowstorm is a concept alien to Pennsylvanian mentalities. I remember in New Hampshire, even during the snowstorm, snow plowing trucks used to patrol the highways continuously, and once the snowstorm was over, life returned to normal within a matter of minutes. In Pennsylvania, they have a slightly different world view. Snow plowing trucks only appear once most of the snow has already been melted due to the intense heat generated by cars that skidded into each other and the highway median and then exploded in balls of flame. Although that is a decent enough snow-plowing technique in theory, it leads to a lot of irritating traffic jams in practice.

But my wisdom in dealing with snow has come from bitter experience. The first time I experienced snow was when I was a graduate student in the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. I woke up, noticed something was amiss outside, opened the door and saw white shit over everything. So to celebrate, I did the only possible thing any male does when confronted with something inexplicably wonderful. I borrowed a friend's car, asked a couple of other friends to pile in and drove around aimlessly.

The friend, whose car I borrowed, was then vacationing in India (curiously, the same friend who almost self-immolated himself). Note that I had no experience of driving in the snow. I did not even possess a license. I did not apply the knowledge I had gained in my Mechanics class in engineering to realize snow might reduce the coefficient of friction between the tires and the road. So I basically took no precautions and drove as usual.

Soon I found myself along with the car and my idiot pals at the bottom of a ditch. It was kind of cool in a way. If you haven't crashed somebody else's car, you should do it at least once during your lifetime. It gives you a sense of utter helplessness when the car suddenly develops a will of its own and insists on driving itself in the very direction you are trying not to go, regardless of your steering wheel acrobatics, and then you brace yourself for the crash, and finally, when you are in the ditch, you actually feel better because the ordeal is over. And through it all, you are saying to yourself "Thank God that wasn't my car".

This crash was a good crash. Good because I didn't really total the car. Secondly, the car was already in such an advanced state of decrepitude that totalling, if anything, might actually have improved it's appearance. The only thing seemingly wrong with the car in it's post-crash appearance was that a pretty sizeable portion of the planet had gotten stuck in the space between it's bonnet and its body. There was an entire ecosystem within that chunk of earth, including a bird's nest without its residents, a couple of squirrels and a hibernating bear. Being the avid environmentalist that I was and still am, I did not harm the ecosystem. I left it alone.

I then called up my friend in India and informed him about the crash. "Is it totalled?" he asked hopefully. No, I replied. I could sense his disappointment through the phone. Ah well, I guess I had failed him. But it would always snow again right? Funnily enough, I never drove his car in snow again. Because even though I wanted to help him total his vehicle, I wasn't sure I would be able to crash it again without inflicting harm on my own person. And when all is said and done, driving into a ditch is no picnic in the park.


Kimberly El-Sadek said...

You should see the aftermath of snow in South Carolina!

zambezi said...

snow is coming popsie. snow is. i hope i dont have to go to the way, when i was moving last week i found a whole album of you and me hanging out about 5 years ago. you look like a dacoit and i look like rangaraj-the bangalore rowdy.

km said...

Yeah, we got like a couple of 4 inches last night here in Jersey. Apropos of nothing, your post is funny as hell.