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.
Every weekday morning, I drive about twenty miles to work. Down I-405, the across I-90. Then back the same way in the evening. As you can imagine, I see a lot of bad drivers. Last night, I saw a guy watching TV in his Mercedes S600. While he was driving in rush hour traffic. That’s pretty bad, but the ones who really piss me off are the people who force their Hummer into the Civic-sized space between my car and the car in front of me. Somehow the worst drivers always get away with their obnoxious behavior. But this morning, for the very first time since I’ve been driving this route, I saw one of those guys get his due.
I was driving along in the middle lane on 405 in Kirkland, minding my own business. Traffic was moving at about 10 mph. It was pretty much bumper to bumper. All of a sudden, I saw a red SUV barreling my direction at about 30 mph. In one motion, he crossed four lanes. The guy to the right of me had to slam on his brakes to avoid hitting the moron. What an asshole. I was resigned to seeing yet another aggressive jerk get away with his behavior.
But not this time. A few seconds after the SUV got to the right lane, I saw flashing blue lights in my rear view mirror. I’ve never been so happy to see a police car behind me. He moved over to the right and stopped the red SUV. I saw the driver, and he looked pissed, but he was still talking on his cell phone. It was nice to see someone get called on driving like a jerk for once. I’m not holding my breath waiting for it to happen again, though.
Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve written here. If anyone is still reading, I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me. I would promise to never let it happen again, but both you and I know that would be a lie.
To get you caught up, here is a list of miscellaneous items from the past few weeks. They are presented in no particular order.