SH Sean Harding/blog
Mother nature hates me
Wednesday, January 10th, 2007

It’s official. Mother nature is pissed, and she’s taking it all out on me. I sincerely apologize to my friends and neighbors who are caught in the crossfire.

This pair of photos* tells a big part of the story in my latest encounter with Ma. Pay attention to the clock on the left and the odometer on the right.

You’re not misreading it. I moved half a mile in one hour. I was on the freeway at the time. In an incident eerily similar to what happened on November 27th, a snow storm started just in time for the evening commute. However, this time I was the one who was stuck in traffic for hours. To be fair, I didn’t have it nearly as bad as Becky did — it only took me three hours to get home. Still, it wasn’t my idea of fun.

I was supposed to have a singing lesson and then improv playground tonight. At around 4 o’clock, emails and phone calls started coming in from all directions about the weather. It first started snowing on the eastside, and then it came into the city. By 4:30, I’d decided to cancel my singing lesson, skip playground and head directly home. It was already too late.

When I got onto I-90, the snow — it was more like miniature hail, really — was coming down fast. Amazingly, traffic was still moving well. It wasn’t until I got across the bridge and onto Mercer Island that things came to a standstill. I think I first came to a full stop around 4:45. It was after 7 before I got the car above 3 MPH again. The most frustrating thing was that for the vast majority of the trip, the roads were not bad at all. In fact, most of the time, the road surface was no worse than it would have been after a rain shower. The real problem wasn’t clear to me until I got near the I-90/I-405 interchange.

About an eighth of a mile before 405, the road had about an inch of slush and snow on it. There were a bunch of cars on the side of the road, some at bizarre angles. Still, it didn’t seem all that bad to me. The ramp onto 405 was really an experience, though. There must have been a dozen or more cars spun out on the side of the road. There was a jackknifed articulating bus, two stalled semis and a couple of parked snowplows, creating a windy obstacle course to drive through. That was the one part of the drive that made me a little nervous. I was glad I learned how to drive in a place with a lot of snow. I just took it slow and steady, and drove past the carnage.

Once I got onto I-405, I was home free. The road was relatively clear and there was almost no traffic. I drove between 20 and 40 MPH the whole way. Getting up our steep driveway at home was a bit of a challenge, but I managed it. Now I’m at home, enjoying the warmth and the easy access to a bathroom. And I’m not looking forward to getting back into the car any time soon.

* Yeah, yeah. I know I was just making fun of cameraphones two days ago. I was glad to have it with me. But I still think the picture quality sucks ass.

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