Thursday, December 18, 2008

Entertainment.

With a stop sign at either end of my short block and the road ready to host a Stanley Cup game, the front porch of Roseholme Cottage is a primo viewing spot for some wintertime entertainment. I've come to the conclusion that the main difference between Yankee drivers and Southerners when there's a half inch of glaze ice on the pavement is that the former says "you guys" instead of "y'all" as they ground loop their car at an intersection.

It's only a couple blocks to the grocery store, so I decided to walk it instead of driving, figuring that a sprained ankle will heal itself but a pranged fender costs money to repair...

18 comments:

Tom The Impaler said...

Busting your butt can get pricey too. My ACLs cost fifteen grand each for one hour out patient surgeries. Thank god for insurance.

Joe Huffman said...

When my dad was young he worked a few years for a furniture store. The phrase they used as moving stuff through doors and other tight places was, "Skin will grow back, the finish won't."

og said...

What you're seeing is the snow hippies. They are affected by "acid snow" This is like acid rain, except the acid in question is Lysergic Acid Diethylamide. It falls on their heads, and melts directly into their brain, and causes them to hallucinate that they can drive. In the very worst cases, the acid causes them to believe that 4 wheel drive is proof against the laws of physics. They provide the useful purpose of keeping auto body repairmen in business and well trained, so when normal people have fenderbenders, they are capable of doing an excellent job.

Tam said...

The two best so far were the big cargo van that did a 720 when attempting a u-turn, and the '70s 3/4-ton 4WD Ford that went down the street with at least one tire locked or spinning the whole way; I swear on my still-living mother's grave that he at no point had all four tires rotating at the same speed, yet still kept it between the ditches...

Rabbit said...

You've got nothing on Texans. Folks here are convinced that this 'ice' stuff is just like that 'rain' stuff we don't seem to be able to navigate through, either, except that it lowers the coefficient of friction, which means folks can apparently believe that it will result in a speedier arrival at their desired endpoint.

Tuesday wasn't as bad as some ice days here, but on the really bad ones, the world shuts down for 36 hours while it all sublimates back into the atmosphere. On such days, I stay home and watch the local news channels doing remote broadcasts from alongside major thoroughfares as 18-wheelers invariably try to climb 3% grades of wet Teflon from a standing start as idjits in Escalades and Corvettes attempt to outdo one another in fender and suspension damage. Makes for splendid entertainment, that.

On the way home Monday night, going down the highest ramp of the Hi-5 at 635 and 75, 5 vehicles were at a dead stop in front of me. Normally, the speed limit is 55 (or whatever you can make) through there. Most amusing was the person in the Jetta who, even though facing downhill in a reasonably straight (as in forward) direction of travel, insisted on attempting to accelerate down the hill, resulting in her Pretty New Jetta crawling sideways toward the barrier some 150 feet AGL.

Geez. Just let off the brakes and let gravity work for you. Such dirty looks I got while I rolled past her in Soapbox Derby propulsion mode!

Regards,
Rabbit.

Stingray said...

To play devil's advocate, some of 'em might be just doing it for fun. We got a foot and a half of white stuff the other day, and I'll admit to having a bit of horsepower induced rotational silliness on the way home, cycling several radians further than necessary for the turn I was making (though LabRat was unamused as I hadn't briefed her on the plan before executing it).

Of noteworthy difference though is there were no other cars on my street, nor pedestrians (for once!) nor cars parked along the curb.

Brigid said...

Ice plus hippies = "Carma"

OrangeNeckInNY said...

Heh...

Carteach0 said...

Like our school lot on the first snowy day... WhOOO AAAA! Lookit dem teenagers go! Dang, there goes the stop sign again!

I tell *my* students to hang back ten minutes and let the follies pass first.

Anonymous said...

A long time back high school driving instructor recomended finding an empty parking lot and practice skids spins and the like at every first snow to get the fell of it. I wonder if they still tell the students that or if its considered "to risky" for there delicate constitutions.

Stingray said...

Anon: I didn't get that from my actual drivers ed teacher, I got that from my *parents*. Paid off greatly, too. Having a good idea how the particular vehicle behaves in the slick has kept my fenders remarkably un-bent on more occasions than I can count. Even got me some bragging rights too.

Some years further on, I had the chance to mess around in a skid-car. Take your typical driving implement, and weld on a hydraulic set of extra wheels that can lift any particular corner by button push. It simulated "dang that road's icy!" remarkably well. After a while, the instructor manning the lift buttons finally had to get three wheels off the ground before things started seriously going off in the wrong direction. Between me and the two folks from Michigan that were also trying the setup out, well, he was a tad surprised at how few cones got knocked over. So yeah, those parking lot shenanigans are well worth the time. Just do it at the end away from the stop sign. ;)

mts said...

Go for the Monon. Bicycle in the snow and on the ice. I just hope you have normal pedals, not the strap or the clip type. You'll have your feet out more than on the pedals. But it's a blast.

Adrian K said...

Hehe. As bad as it is there, the Midwest actually gets that stuff fairly frequently.

The freeway near my house has been a parking lot for nearly 7 hours now, since everybody let their folks go home at 2pm.

Makes me wonder how tough it would be to borrow a set of knobbies with carbide studs and go play on the Suzuki in traffic.

reflectoscope said...

Tam, google yaktrax if you're in the market for what amount to snow chains for your shoes. Easy on, easy off, just a little slippery once you get onto a smooth floor. Jim

Dr. StrangeGun said...

Way back in the Tbird days again, I got plenty of practice avoiding the prang even though we had no snow, because the college I went to INSISTED on sealing the parking lot every 6 months with this cheap oily crap that everyone would track out onto hardin valley road and the intersections there. Any time it rained it was at least as bad as ice.

Notables:

The lazy 360 turning left onto HVR (3-4 times)
Finally learning just the right point of throttle and countersteer that would result in a slow-mo 5mph 45 degree powerslide around that same corner (countless)
Taking my foot off the gas as I crested a hill and immediately having the car take a 90 degree left turn and wipe it's nose up the grassy bank (once. ONCE.)
Getting stuck on a barely perceptible rise in the parking lot because I couldn't even get traction to move (once)
Turning a right corner and having the rear end keep going, again, 5mph, and cresting the curb on the inside exit of the corner (once)

Pulling into the college parking lot at 1Am or so after a rain, driving into the middle of the parking spots at 15mph and yanking the parking brake, resulting in a.... *counts fingers* 1350 (once. heehee)

That car was treacherous. My pickup truck is exceedingly well behaved compared to it...

Anonymous said...

Just one question. What'er yankees doing down in the deep south of Broad Ripple?

(This may be a cultural misunderstanding seeing as where I'm from, New Englanders are southerners who live in a balmy climate witha long growing season.)


(And our right, every damn wintger htey have to all re-learn to drive on snow and ice again.)

Mark Alger said...

Brigid: Heh.

Tam;

Count yourself lucky that Indy is relatively flat. Picture your situation in a locale where no road goes either level or straight for more than a single car-length and 45 degree slopes are nothing unusual.

M

Andrew Weitzman said...

Ah, winter. Here in Quebec you can always tell when 'tis the season: the "REEEEEE" of people who are trying to get out ice-and-snow choked driveways, the panic stops when those without winter tires try to navigate streets that just got 15+ centimeters of the white stuff, and the sounds of a few million shovels digging cars out of snowdrifts.

Times like this, glad I ride a scooter and take the damn bus in winter.