Downtown Seattle Like many people in and around Seattle, WA, Vancouver, BC, and other Pacific Northwest cities, I am currently pinioned underneath mountainous volumes of snow. By that, I mean a couple inches. Before you certify us north westerners as pussies, which we are because we are also liberals, realize that we lack the benefits of a 24/7 army of snowplows. The ones that we do have are apparently somewhere else, in some magical land I have yet to see, plowing and salting imaginary roads. For the bulk of us living along the coasty areas, conditions are just shy of murderous.
In my own humble villa, with its quaint vistas, rolling hills, and wandering minstrels, the roads are now made out of pure ice and dead minstrels. Driving is an exercise in violently accelerating your old Honda Civic or Volvo until the spinning wheels produce forward motion, and then praying to god (or science) that eventually your vehicle will stop and that when it does stop you will not be occupying the same time and space as another vehicle, ditch, mailbox, or person. Many travelers have already suffered greatly, launching their vehicles off the road or into other cars, creating minor emotional dents and scratches with psychological deductibles that will last a lifetime.
Two inches of snow is no joke my friends. In ideal conditions, two inches of snow would be blasted to hell by salt and then plowed into some ditch, revealing a beautiful canvas of asphalt on which you can paint the story of your epic journey to Wal-Mart and Arby's. Unfortunately, here the snow goes nowhere. It lingers and grows stronger with each moment of below-freezing temperatures. Right now, temperatures are colder than a lady's heart. The ice is taking hold and there might not be any way of stopping it. People out here are not used to this. They do not know what snow is or how to drive on it. The only hope of survival is global warming, or just waiting a few days. Whichever comes first, I guess.
As a former Midwesterner I have a great deal of experience driving on snow and enduring the hardships of cold weather and frozen particles of water. It is a fairly routine thing back there. It is also flat and free from icy death hills with intersections at the bottom. Plus, as a resident of the Midwest, you are already so full of self-hate that you actually feel like you deserve bad driving conditions. Self-hate aside, I'd like to share these tips with my new friends on the West Coast.
What to do:
- Avoid driving whenever possible. This will prevent you from accidentally parking your car in somebody's front yard, causing it to either get towed or decorated with Christmas lights.
- Drive slow and cautiously. The road is trying to get revenge for years of abuse and mistreatment by you, the common motorist. Do not let it. The road is your enemy, so ride that bitch hard. Also allow plenty of extra travel time, you fat hog.
- Avoid ditches, vehicles, people, horses, yards, and other tangible objects that are not roads. Be extremely cautious about colliding with warlocks or other evil spirits capable of cursing you.
- Scrape your windows clean so that you can actually see the road. While the sight of a menacing white blob of snow moving down the road is likely to make other drivers yield out of fear, you are most certainly going to cause an accident, if not spend the entire day driving around your yard blindly smashing into things.
- If driving proves stressful, take a few swigs of whiskey from your flask to ease your nerves.
- If you are driving and things get too scary, just come to a stop and abandon your car in the middle of the road, preferably perpendicular to the flow of traffic. If you're screwed, make sure everyone else is too.
- It is sometimes necessary to kill a hobo, hollow out his innards, and sleep inside them for warmth if you cannot find shelter. That is the tragic consequence of abandoning your car and trying to walk home.
What to do if you know what you're doing:
- Drive as much as possible, wherever you damn well feel like.
- Drive fast and recklessly.
- Leave at the last minute, arrive at your destination not a second too soon.
- Do a non-controlled power-slide into a handicapped spot at K-Mart (only if you are handicapped).
What not to do:
- Ghost ride the whip. In these conditions you could easily slip and accidentally run over yourself. Also, keep your stunna shades off unless the snow is blinding you.
- Tailgate nervous people in smaller cars to try to bully them into driving faster. All this does is cause them to wet themselves in terror, which, because of the cold, instantly freezes. Then they have to drive to the hospital to have their crotches amputated and you look like a big jerk in your high and mighty SUV.
- Remain calm. This could be the end of all things. Do not be complacent.
Keep smart, keep alive. That is the motto of most people who enjoy smart living. I have prepared the following smart tips to help you stay alive and not waste any time on foolish pursuits.
- Contrary to popular belief, eating a snowman does not give you his strength, unless of course his strength was excessive urination. In times of crisis you need to think clearly, and cannibalizing your snowmen is akin to madness.
- Maintain at least one working helicopter in case road conditions become absolutely impossible to navigate.
- Do not fake being trapped in an avalanche as a Saint Bernard's time is very precious and should not be spent responding to hoaxes.
- Set aside space in your garage or a shed to act as a morgue so that you do not have to interact with fallen family members.
- Huddle in a small corner and swaddle yourself in blankets. There, in your womb of ultimate gayness, cry out to the God of the Air to not be so cold-hearted. Note: Do not cry actual tears. They will freeze to your eyes and cause ocular frostbite.
These horrifying, unbearable conditions could last another few days, so there is no telling how many thousands of people will die in THE GREAT STORM OF THE CENTURY. With any luck, the snow will melt in a few days and the endless depressing rainstorms and coffee consumption will return.
Are you concerned that you may be a character trapped in a Tom Waits song? Be smart and learn the warning signs before it's too late. Also, it's too late. It has always been too late.
I'm haunted by a recurring vision of a skeleton flipping me off. To avoid seeing this terrifying image in bumper sticker form, I pay someone with a blank bumper to drive in front of me at all times.
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