Thursday, March 01, 2007

Skid Marks

The weather forecasters where I live are about as trustworthy as a crack addict working as a pharmacist’s assistant. For instance last weekend, I went to bed after watching their proclamations of an imminent wintry apocalypse and woke up to find that we’d received maybe a tenth of an inch of ice. Then over Monday and Tuesday, days they had been predicting as dry, we received two inches of snow. When I woke up this morning, the news was reporting that my area was subject to a Winter Storm Warning, and the meteorologist reported that the epicenter of the icy tempest was the city that I live in.
I turned off the TV, stepped outside the house to let the dog shit on the neighbor’s lawn and discovered that though there were trace amounts of snow on my car, there was no precipitation in sight to speak of. I went back inside, turned the TV back on to listed to an obviously drug-addled and delusional weatherman frothing at the mouth pleading with me to, for the love of God, keep my speed down as I went to work. Feeling absolutely no obligation to heed the advice of someone who is either clinically paranoid or inherently dishonest, I got into my car determined to beat my record time for flying into work. Traffic and law enforcement activities permitting, I was determined to keep my speedometer buried on the sweet side of the 80-mile-an-hour mark.
Tragically, traffic was not permitting and it appeared that the majority of my fellow commuters were gullible enough to believe the meteorological propaganda that was flooding the airwaves. I was forced to follow the pussies at 45 miles an hour just because the road got a little snow, and by little I mean just enough to get the roads a wet, not enough to stick.
Eventually, I saw the flashing lights of two police cars and a tow truck up in the distance, giving me the first indication that maybe the weatherman was possibly on to something. They were located near in a bend in the expressway that, though it lacks a “Dangerous Curve” road sign, is much more convincingly identified as such by all of the white crosses, teddy bears, and holiday wreaths just off of the right shoulder. The Great Lakes State is kind of strapped for cash right now so as a cost saving measure, it appears that the Michigan Department of Transportation union has conceded to allow the state to outsource the identification of dangerous stretches of highway to the grieving relatives of interstate fatalities.
Even though I was only doing 45 miles an hour, I decided that maybe I should slow down a little. As soon as I let my foot off of the gas however, I felt the ass end of my car begin to drift.
Now, I had heard the tips a million times and had ingrained into my head the things I was supposed to do as a driver to keep control of my car during a swerve. First, I was supposed to let off of the gas. Second, I was supposed to steer into the swerve. Third, under NO circumstances was I to step on the brake.
Well, letting off of the gas was what got me swerving in the first place, so I checked that item off of my list. Now, I never understood the whole “steer into the swerve” thing. It always seemed that if the front of my car was moving to the right, turning my steering wheel to the right would only serve to accelerate losing complete control of my vehicle. Still, I decided to give the driving experts the benefit of the doubt and do what they had been telling my to do for years. Immediately after doing this however, I discovered that the driving experts behind that that little tidbit of advice probably live somewhere in the former Confederacy and still pissed about getting asses handed to them in 1865, decided to prey upon Yankees’ gullible natures and kill them en masse with bad driving advice. Before I steered into swerve, I was spinning at about the speed of a clock’s second hand. After I steered into the swerve, I was spinning like a roulette wheel.
Having lost complete control of my car now, I also lost all ability to rationally deal with the situation. Instinct took over and I found myself at the mercy of variously involuntary muscle spasms. The first thing to happen to me was that my sphincter puckered and apparently pinched a nerve controlling my right leg. I knew this because from prior experience I knew that the LAST thing you do while sliding on ice was touch your brake, yet as soon as my ass tightened up my right foot jumped up and did its best to slam that particular pedal right through the car’s floorboards.
Before that, I was spinning out of control but amazingly, maintaining the direction of the lane. After that, I was spinning out of control and heading for the center median wall. I tried several times to get my foot off of the brake but my sphincter was not cooperating and my efforts were little more than an exercise in futility. To make matters worse, the traffic behind me was gaining quickly. I had a feeling that this could possibly be the larval stages of a huge and spectacular pile-up. If I played my cards right, I might even be on TV! I started to regret not taking the time to shave before I left the house.
I am not usually a person that believes in predestined fate, but in this case there was pretty much nothing I could do about the situation so I decided to just kind of sit back and enjoy the ride. As I hit the shoulder before the median, I must have hit a mound of ice or something because instead of crashing into the concrete barrier, the car changed direction and started heading for the other side of the highway. I again crossed all lanes of traffic, and finally came to a rest on the opposite shoulder, facing the wrong way but with my car completely unscathed and no damage inflicted upon myself that couple of Long Island Iced Teas would not fix.
When it was over I dug my fingers out of the steering wheel, pulled the Green Day cd out of my radio and replaced it with something a little more mellowing, The Sundays. Somehow however, the song “Here’s Where the Story Ends”, did nothing to calm me down so I turned it off and lit up a cigarette.
I was sitting there in silence, smoking and trying to determine if I needed to go home and change clothes when the cops showed up. After making sure that I was alright, they stopped traffic and allowed me to turn the car around to continue on to work. As I was driving away, I could not help but feel a little disappointed that I was not going to make the 12 o’clock news. I considered turning on the radio to get an updated weather report but decided against it as I still don’t trust the bastards.


Blogger Alan the Great said...

I don't actually have anything to say; I just never managed to get a first commment before. Woot. I realize that this type of spam is what's polluting the internet these days, but I'm assuming that like myself other bloggers get a warm tingly feeling when someone leaves a comment, not just because I wet myself in gleeful anticipation of what they said.

2:42 AM  
Blogger leeloo001 said...

Ok, you dont know me, i am just some random person. But i have to tell you this. Yesterday i hit the middle median while driving and blew out my tire. After coming into work today with a lighter wallet and a bruised ego i decided to look up on the net to find out if anybody else has done such and idiotic thing as me. Thats when i came across your blog, and although your incident was in no way like mine, i just wanted to share with you that your blog and thier wimsical entries have made me smile today when i felt so blue.

6:18 PM  
Blogger JEP said...

Thanks Alan!

And also, thank you Leeloo! I'm really glad to hear an entry actually cheered someone up. Most of the people around here are just after my body.

6:30 PM  

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