That was probably the least fun I’ve ever had driving a vehicle before, and in this case, “fun” is not being meant as the kind of “fun” one might derive from being forced to steer one’s own roller coaster car. For those of you who didn’t have the pleasure of driving to MD from PA in rush hour traffic on 95, let me describe it to you. Well, first of all, for those on the west coast or those who slept through the entire day, we had somewhat of a storm here. And it wasn’t like the last “storm” we had where everybody panicked and ran out to get milk and canned beans the day before and then Mother Nature just passed gas on us. No. This was shit. And I had to brave the shit.
First off, I left a good hour early, thinking that traffic might be a little backed up. Well, as soon as I hit 76, I didn’t see even 2nd gear for the first hour. I left Angelo’s pizza at 2:30 and didn’t get to 95 until 5:00. Less than 16 miles away. I was supposed to be at work in half an hour. I saw a girl talking on a car phone and had an idea. I crumbled up a $10 bill and a note telling her to call Gary and tell him I wouldn’t be there until about 4 in the afternoon on Saturday if I kept this pace. But by the time I got done with the note, I had hit 95 and had to shift into second gear. This was not a step up. This was actually very scary. There was a span of about an hour in which I never actually had control of my car. I just went through a series of overcompensations that kept me from hitting anybody else.
There are a few natural social wonders that occur when such a storm hits like it did today. First of all, people drive like they should normally and let other people in. It’s not worth the risk. Nobody’s tailing anybody to try to keep a spot. We’re all in this together and we just want to survive. Also, there are no lanes. There are paths of less resistance. 95 South turned into two such paths by accident (whereas it’s normally 3 lanes). I had no idea where the actual lanes were supposed to be. Which reminds me of a time about 3 years ago when Evil Joe and I were on 695 and the three lanes had shifted over so much, there was an actual empty lane on the right which no one was using. So Joe and I blazed the trail. He was worried about getting pulled over, but I assured him that we were actually in an actual lane. In fact, we were the only ones.
Anyway, at the very worst times there was only one lane, though it was moving at a decent pace. If somebody did try to pass you, it was a task. Halfway through some passes, I stop to wonder if it was really worth the risk. The only people that passed confidently were the damn 18-wheelers. They aren’t affected by such weather conditions. And I think they’re out to get revenge. I was passed by more of those scary fuckers than I think I’ve ever been in my entire life total. Here I am muddling along at about 5 mph with every muscle in my body tensed up like I’m about to get hit with a wrecking ball (sure, why not) just trying to keep the car going the same way my tires are pointing, and Mr 2-ton asshole flies by me at like, 40 or something insane like that. Just wait til it’s dry again, buddy.
At 6:15, I had reached Delaware’s Service Station, about 1/4 to UMBC. I called in to work and they told me not to worry about it, like they were supposed to. So with no deadline, I decided to eat and watch Chocolat and wait for the damn storm to subside and the salt trucks to come to the rescue. So I left home at 2:30 and got back to Baltimore at about 12:45. Like I said, not too much actual “fun.”
Good Joe is lucky enough to be in Turkey right now, where ritual killings are much more common than snow. But before he was there, he and I had a chance to hang out for a few weeks. When this happens and neither of us have to worry about work or any obligations at all, sleep schedules tend to get whacked up and sometimes even reverse polarity. This was the case in the week after Christmas. We were trying to describe to Mike something we had done sometime in the recent past, but couldn’t figure out what the word “yesterday” meant to us or Mike as it pertained to the event in question. So when we tried to describe something that had happened “yesterday” when in reality as far as the sun is concerned, happened 3 days ago…
Mike: “What the hell kind of day are you talking about?”
Me: “His body’s naturally attuned to a 36-hour day.”
Joe: “It’s actually a metric day.”
He was already preparing for his trip to Turkey. Hard core.
Swerving and out of washer fluid,
Still Standing Right Here…