Monday, December 5, 2011

Musings on Commutings

On Thursday, December 1, those jerk mereorologists decided to give us a winter storm.  They've been warning us for days that they were going to do it, but I kept hoping they would back down.

I hate that they can never do this on a weekend so that I can enjoy it.  I love to play in the snow. Instead they set it up so that the worst of the storm is during my morning commute.

OK, I made this with Paint, but this is basically what it looked like outside (those dark blobs are supposed to be trees in the distance).

I made a list in my head of the things I saw as I drove, and tried not to white knuckle it.  The night before it rained, and then snowed, so it was a bit like driving around on an skating rink.  I kept expecting sweepers to run outside and and polish the ice in front of the cars like it was some big curling contest.

  1. Car off the side of the road, less than a mile from where I get on to Highway 287.  There is a grassy area between the north and south areas, and at that part, it is a little divet in the ground.  The car had its hazards on, and a guy was sitting inside with his head on his steering wheel.  I rubbernecked as much as I could without crashing until I saw him sit up.  He was talking on the phone.  Oh good, he wasn't dead and he had a phone.  I didn't have to try to figure out if I should stop to help him.  I'm not sure I could have stopped without crashing.

  2. There was a black newer-model Saab on the side a few hundred yards from the one and only light on this stretch of road.  It also had its hazards on, but no one was inside.  There was no obvious damage, and it is still on the road, partially in the lane.  Did he run out of gas?

  3. I saw two more cars on the neutral ground between lanes, but I couldn't see much more than their roofs as I was in the right lane.  I decided it would be better drive slow and let the SUV fuckers speed by after I fishtailed a couple of times.

  4. Traffic came to a stop, with many skids and slides from everyone.  We were pushed into the left lane, and then into the turn lane by a firetruck blocking both lanes.  There are two tow trucks with cars loaded up behind him, but not much else to see.  No fire at all.  I am always kind of disappointed whenever I see a fire truck and no fire, and I feel guilty about it.  The cars did not look too badly damaged, but I could only see one side of them.

  5. There was a pick-up truck with an S.Cargo top that drove off the right side of the road, went through a field where he left muddy tracks, and apparently did a donut.  There was a police car with lights flashing parked above, and I could see the officer scrambling down the embankment.  He needed snow boots as I could see the snow sticking to his socks. There was no one in the truck.

  6. Just before I got to my turnoff on Highway 66, there was a red car, again in the middle.  I was just wondering how many people off the side I missed as I drove by because I was paying attention to the road when I saw this guy:  A man in a suit is sitting inside the red car looking pissed off.  I had to slam on the brakes after that and felt my car do the little heart-stoppy-slidey-slidey because the car in front of me was going less than 15 miles per hour.  Asshole. I didn't crash, though, thank the gods of the anti-lock brakes.

  7. When I got to Highway 66, I had a couple miles to decide if I wanted to go through town and deal with the other drivers, or go west a little and skirt around town and go through Hygiene.  I went for Hygiene, and I saw a Isuzu Rodeo do a 360, then catch itself and keep going as though nothing were happening.  The driver, a woman in her late 30's or early 40's was laughing maniacally/hysterically.  The teenager in the passenger seat appeared to be texting.  I am not sure if he noticed that anything happened.

  8. In Hygene, where the speed limit is 30 all the time, I was going just under 30 when a large pickup truck decided to tail gate me.  I took my foot off the gas and allowed myself to go slower and slower.  I just assumed he wanted me to drive slower, or he wouldn't be so close. He turned at the single four way stop in town, his back end skipping about.  He may have looked angry, but it couldn't have been because of me, could it?

The snow let up a little bit when I got to Hygiene, so I pulled out my camera to take a picture of my commute (yes, the truck was still behind me here, so I was going maybe 10 miles per hour).  Sorry it's blurry.  Or rather, it's a really clear picture of the streaks on my windshield.  I was kinda distracted at the time.

I arrived at work about 40 minutes late, but in one piece, and decided immediately that I was going to go home early.  It's all... weathery out, so I was allowed.

See?  My artistic rendition of the landscape wasn't actually that far off.  And yes, I know it's blurry.  I was kind of, you know, DRIVING at the time.

I felt a little bit like an asshole going home early, as most of the roads were pretty clear.  Then I hit a patch of black ice and the only reason I stayed on the highway was that I happened to be driving in a straight line at the time.

It is a disconcerting thought that I sometimes risk my life in order to sit in a cubicle all day.

P.S. It snowed again on Friday night and Saturday morning.  I drove my car up to the mountains to go for a hike.  Why is it so much easier to brave the shitty weather when it's something I want to do?


Anonymous said...

My worst winter commute was three hours for a drive that should have taken 20 minutes. I had no cell phone at the time, and Dear Sweet Mama, Poor Ol' Dad, and Idiot Ex-Fiance (The Evil Troll) all thought I was dead. I'm still kinda pissed that there weren't mourners gathered at the house when I arrived.

Angie said...

I used to make the drive on I80-I76 into Denver when I lived there. For some f*cked up reason, we always traveled more in the winter when white out conditions were prevalent. Iowa/Nebraska/Colorado winter driving blows!

iZombie said...

pretty and pretty awful...

Jeremy [Retro-Zombie]
Visit The Madness:

KK and UK said...

Great pics!

Leauxra said...

hoodyhoo: I felt the same when I arrived at work. I was like, no one even noticed I was late? I could be dead on the side of the road, and no one would even notice until I didn't come home from work at 6PM? Dang. Of course, that's my COWORKERS, including my boss who is out of state, so it's ALMOST understandable.

Angie: I know, right? How many times have I driven over Raton Pass in the middle of a blizzard? I do find it ironic, though, that no amount of snow and winter weather will keep me from getting out and playing on my days off, though.

iZombie: Thanks!

KK and UK: It was awfully pretty out there!

MakingSpace said...

Wow!!!! My kids and I have been mourning the lack of snow in our area (we live in the tropics). I am going to stop complaining about the rain and how it muddies the front yard now...

but your pics are awesomeness. Just sayin.

wagthedad said...

These are great pictures. I wish we had snow like that here. Except it's a city where I live, which means we get white snow for about five minutes only.

This also reminds me of when I lived in Chicago and we had the biggest blizzard in twenty years and I got yelled at for coming into the office after 9 A.M. after driving for 3 hours (normal commute was an hour and fifteen minutes). I "should have planned better".

Leauxra said...

Making Space: I'll be honest in that I LOVE snow... Crappy traffic and driving around in the dark after work really does put me in the holiday mood, and I am not being sarcastic. :)

Wagthedad: Ah, OK, that's why we get along. I was born near Chicago. We're like, long lost siblings (especially when you hear my mom's story about how the nurses in the hospital where I was born trying to steal me).

But the snow stays white here because it melts off within a few days of falling. Right now, the roads are clear and dry... We've had a couple other storms this year, one of them dropping over a foot of snow at the beginning of November, and it had completely melted off before this snow. And any time from here on out, I just have to drive 15 minutes to an hour and I am in a winter freaking wonderland.

Stephanie said...

Oh yuck. So miserable. There's nothing worse than driving in to work in a horrible snowstorm. I'm glad you made it in one piece!

Anonymous said...

We may be getting our first snow of the season tomorrow. I am not excited.

Leauxra said...

Stephanie: Yeah, it wasn't fun. The weather wasn't much different on Saturday when I went for a hike, but for some reason that was better.

Thoughtsy: Stock up on the hot cocoa. It will be OK.

Leenie said...

There and back and stayed on the skating rink, er, highway--well done. Don't you just love how your bum tries to hold on to the upholstery when the car goes all squirrley? I've driven in conditions (to sit in a cubicle) like that and when I got home my whole rear-end was in a knot.

Send some of that white stuff north. We've missed out for some weird reason. My x-skis are all waxed and nowhere to go.

Leauxra said...

Leenie: I thought I was the only one that got butt-cramps from driving in the snow... er, wait, was that too much information?

The snow has been kind of ridiculous so far this year. We almost never get this kind of snow... It IS getting me in the holiday cheer, though.

That reminds me: I need to go skiing.

Anonymous said...

Well, the snow Thoughtsy thought we would get was non-existent. False alarm and all that. Which is probably good because when we get even a snowflake, people around here act like they have never seen this white stuff falling from the sky and start driving like complete morons. So we get the same viewing of the cars procession on the way to work.

Your last pics are absolutely gorgeous. That is the kind of snow I love. Not the black stuff covering the ice on the roads here. Yuck.

Leauxra said...

Misty: I love snow. On the weekends. I really need to talk to the local meteorologists about scheduling the storms at a more convenient time. And people around here drive like idiots, too. I think it's because there are a lot of immigrants from California and Texas here in Colorado... WHAT'S THIS WHITE STUFF! IT'S FALLING FROM THE SKY! OMG!

Love said...

I will sign a letter of complaint/petition to have the storms on weekends if you do the composition. Also, when I used to live in downtown Boulder, I watched a woman ABANDON her giant SUV on Canyon while it was snowing. I was driving in my jetta at the time (RIP Pearl) which had TWO wheel drive. Now I know that after having lived on the East Coast, driving in the snow doesn't really phase me, but seriously. She left her frigging GIANT ALL WHEEL DRIVE CAR in the MIDDLE of the lane on Canyon, shouting tearfully into her cell phone as she climbed down "It's just too slippery to drive!" I thought about driving up to her, silently creeping close to her amidst the falling snowflakes and HONKING my irritation, but I was nicer than that I guess....dammit, when will I gather my GUTS! Next time, I'm doing it.