has gone the way of Ernie
, it appears, removing her commenting system altogether for now. I was afraid this would happen. Elizabeth
never had any comments, to my knowledge, so that now brings the number of weblogs I read with comment systems down to zero. This is particularly disturbing since, as much as Ern, Ali, and Liz write, they don't write nearly enough to keep me busy at work not working. I always counted on the comments to provide, if not interesting then at least lengthy, reading material. I did, however, manage to find some of Alison's old layouts
which are kind of fun and it allows you to avoid seeing her site with the new layout which is frankly a bit dark and scary for this early spring environment (although very well done as usual). Also, In Passing
has comments and they're usually nice, inane, long ones with running commentary and discussion about the quotes, or about nothing at all, but mildly amusing nonetheless.
Moving on to brighter things, it is spring. The time of renewal and rebirth and little lambs flying out of their mother's butts encased in embryonic goo and pretty little flowers being run over by the convoys of construction vehicles rolling out of their wintery caves. It is a time for bright glaring sunshine blinding you to tears on the drive to work and... last but not least... the biting blistering cold of a winter wind reaching from behind it's bars, tearing at your clothing trying to reach you from the other side of the line in the sand called the spring equinox.
You see, up here in Maine weather is not a timid animal. She is a fiesty bitch with sharp teeth but soft fur. A temptress who bats her lashes at father time, coldly wrapping her thin bony fingers around his free will. A woman who cajolingly winks at us with the bright sun of a new day while sprinkling the seeds of a winter's storm behind her back.
This weekend I drove into that storm. It started early, in Grafton notch this side of the New Hampshire border. An easy climb through the woods for the car despite the sand and dirt on the roads and the wet slick pavement. The snow began to spittle at first but offered no signs of the onslaught that was to come. By Dixville's notch I was making better time than I ever have and the night was clear and crisp as The Balsalm's
flew by like a Christmas postcard. At a quick stop for fuel in Colebrook a light mist was noted that was barely perceptable inside the car... by the crossing it was snow flurries with a hint of more to come. I thought this would be the final card she would play that night, a low face card but a admirable showing on this new spring's night.. but how I was wrong.
As I merged off 55 onto route 10 Ouest towards Montreal with a mere 120km separating me and my fine city things were once again clear as day and I cruised at an easy 80mph with little traffic to contend with. In a few short minutes I would arrive in a frozen hell.
It started with big puffy flakes, a few here and a few there. It was nice at first as they flew by like little white lights, lite up by my halogens, pretty even. Seconds later there were more than I could count and they kept rushing at me with all the anger and intensity of a thousand tiny bulls charging at my milano red flag of a car. In seconds visibility dropped to about 25 feet and my muscles tensed as I tentatively tapped the brakes until my speedometer came down to a resonable reading of 20mph. I stared hard at the mesmerizing pinpoint where all flakes seemed to be attacking from in the center of my vision and found myself veering to the left or right more than once. As the wind blew harder and harder the car's rear end slide dangerously over the ice-glazed pavement as the engine tried to pull things into line. A number of times even the light gray lines of the previous vehicle's tires before me disappeared from view, even the front of my car, as I rolled along at a speed in the single digits, weaving back and forth acrossed the highway with only the snowbank and a rumble strip to warn me of the impending doom on either side.
Not until I came to a slow and agonizing sliding stop behind a tractor trailer truck did I realize the extent of the ice on the road's surface; enough to make even walking a challenge. As I sat behind the truck staring blankly at the flashing hazard lights the rear of the car once again slid precariously towards the side of the road, forced by the howl of the wind - this time while at a standstill - until the car's angle became sharp enough away from the wind that it no longer could push with all it's might.
After ten minutes of deliberation traffic started moving again, albeit slowly, through the dark wintery night. To my left a forlorn trucker stood in front of his wrongly-facing rig, frowning sadly at the mess across the road. To my right lay a giant 26-wheeled vehicle twisted like an aluminum can of soda and tossed into the ditch. Lights flashed and men milled about.
For the next 30 minutes I drove, sometimes slowly, sometimes fast, through the varying weather, braving the evil hells of winter and finally, in a sigh of immense relief I reached the city limits. And as I crossed the Pont Champlain the city was hidden in a dark cloud of nothingness, not a single building or light visible from mere miles away, hidden in a dark mass I thought reserved only for such imaginarys as Gotham.
After I arrived I quickly made my way to the bathroom to alleviate 5 hours of driving urine built up to a knee-shaking pressure. I stood there, leaning against the wall, listening to the clank of Colt 45's in the fridge and the crinkle of the paper bags on the other side of the bathroom door and the laugh of my compatriots at the ridiculus kids in the hall and then I remembered. I remembered I had forgot to put my winter tires on. Oi, was I glad to be home