Monday, January 16, 2012

Like driving on ice

They don't salt the roads in Seattle, because the run-off would pollute the water and harm the fishing industries. Which is good for the environment and the salmon, but it means that with a little bit of snow like today, the roads get rather slippery.

Jet lag was catching up with me, as I I sat in the back of the taxi I was on the nod. That strange point where you're tired enough that you keep having micro naps, your head flopping forwards and then snapping back. I don't know if I was dreaming or having hallucinations, but either way a man was eating heads made from topiary, the size of cubes of battenberg cake. It was disturbing.

My attention was clawed back to the world when I saw a car ahead of us on the highway spin out of control. And spin, and spin, making several not so gentle revolutions as it drifted towards the central divider. My driver braked as we got closer, and either that, or reaching the same ice, meant that his back end slid out and now we were going sideways down the highway for a moment, before he turned into the skid and managed to straighten the car up again.

We drove slowly past the car. It had ended up pointing the right way down the road and didn't look damaged, but I imagine the side touching the concrete wall was pretty battered.

Perhaps Washingtonians have good self-preservation instincts, or drive crefully, or just stay in at night because we only saw three cars that had something wrong; the spinner, another car a hundred yards later, stationary in the left hand lane, and finally a BMW with its left flank caved in, sat next to a police car and an ambulance.

I felt a bit guilty putting my taxi driver through this and gave him a $15 tip, but I also felt bad for everyne in Wallingford, waiting on a street corner for the buses that had all been cancelled by snow. It seems regressive to me that the people who could only afford public transport would be the ones stuck out in the dark and the cold, while I got driven to a warm hotel room to watch Sons of Guns on TV, some sort of reality tv docusoap where men fire mortars and a woman in a spandex camouflage tank top and a gold AK-47 necklace simpers at them. I mean, really?


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