Friday, January 18, 2008

I love the snow...

As I may have mentioned before, I grew up in the great state of Maine.

The world's most-taken lighthouse photo.

Maine is known for four things:
  • pictures of lighthouses on the rocky coast,
  • snow,
  • lobsters,
  • and the fact that whenever anyone finds out you are from Maine, they ask, "Oh, do you know such and such? He is my cousin's brother-in-law's cousin!"
Yes. I do know him. Maine is that cool.

The Easternmost point in the US.

Anyway, I grew up driving in the snow. I learned to drive in a rear wheel drive Chevy Suburban, and in fact I think I took my driver's test in February. It was not uncommon for us to take one of our cars to an empty parking lot to slide around on four wheels. Sure it was reckless and fun, and a great many times we got the cars stacked up in snowbanks and spent an hour digging out, but I learned a great deal about controlling a car in the snow and recovering from an unplanned slide.

The most important things I learned from my years of driving in the Northeast are:
  • Drive slower than you think you should.
  • Don't tailgate.
  • Hand-pull emergency brakes make turning a lot more fun.
  • Four wheel drive won't slow you down any faster.
When I moved to Delaware, I was blown away by the complete disregard and lack of respect that First State drivers have for the snow. Every rule above is completely ignored, usually resulting in an amalgamation of fender benders, unwanted off-road excursions, and general mayhem. I once saw 5 snow-related accidents in a 3 mile stretch during a Delaware drive last winter.

Typical Delaware driver... at least he has snow tires.

Forgetting that karma is a bitch, I was bragging to some coworkers yesterday about my winter driving abilities when it started looking slippery outside. Snow was falling as I recounted my experience behind the wheel in questionable road conditions. As I left work, I took a look at my bald, directional tires and thought, "No problem." Sure enough, the drive home was a little sketchy, but by following standard winter driving etiquette, I got home in once piece.

Now our driveway has a slight incline to the garage. I know from experience that my tires don't do a great job getting me into this driveway. As I approached the turn into the driveway, I pulled the e-brake and put the car into an elegant drift to maintain my momentum into the driveway. I feathered the gas pedal and parked the car perfectly next to my flat-mates Scion. I take the car out of gear, and pull the parking brake, and I step out onto the snow-covered driveway.

As I take a step away, I hear a near-silent sliding sound and turn around to see my car gently sliding backwards into the street - the front tires turning as they are not in gear; the rear tires sliding under the unweighted back of the car. I run into the street to stop any possible oncoming neighbors, and step into the car just as it stops. Pulling into the street parking next to the house, I nonchalantly step out. Yes, that was all planned. The Maine boy just wanted to execute a ghosted 3-point turn in style. Just showing off for the neighborhood.


the peanut garlic sauce to your stir fry said...

good thing that cute girl that hangs out with you has all wheel drive...

hey, nice lighthouses!

Zooomabooma said...

"When I moved to Delaware, I was blown away by the complete disregard and lack of respect that First State drivers have for the snow."

This is typical throughout the entire nation where there isn't snowfall on a regular basis.

If you pay attention to the news on TV you often hear "Big Snowstorm Blows Through Midwest, 15 Deaths Blamed on Storm."

Well, I can guarantee 12 or more of those were from motor vehicle accidents. 8 of those are due to someone not taking enough care when driving. Even in 4-wheel drive, people think "No Problem." Yeah, well, it's often people like me who've gotta try to keep 'em alive if they're not dead at the scene.

People, I'm terribly sad to say, are just dumb. Happens in rain, too. "What's the danger?" Well, when you hydroplane, spin, and roll 7 times... and die, just because you wanted to keep driving faster than you should, then you'll learn the danger.

Cool post, though. I was born in New Hampshire and love Maine immensely.

By the way -- the Eastern Most Point in The United States, it's technically a place called Pochnoi Point on Semisopochnoi Island.

(And it's not in Maine!)


Evan Carroll said...

You just made my morning!

JenBob said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JenBob said...

Some guys buy fast cars or big trucks to compensate for their lack of manliness.

I just make friends with people from Maine.