Monday, February 23, 2015

Grinding To A Halt

Last winter was pretty brutal. Lots of snow, wind, and temperatures that often times dipped into the single digits and below. I remember one morning my car doors wouldn't open and - frustrated from weeks and weeks of the frigid onslaught - I proceeded to kick my car, hoping that would get me in. And I succeeded! I manged to get my driver side door open, and my passenger side door came open while I was driving down the road on the way to work. In recent years Poughkeepsie has been notorious for having terribly treated roads (and terrible other things thanks to the guy in charge), and I had two road incidents last year: once where my car slide into a light pole while trying to make a turn, and another where it couldn't handle a slick off-ramp, which forced me stay straight and travel over the bridge. Neither incident occured while there was actual, you know, precipitation falling from the sky, but both had me telling myself that that winter was going to be my last in the northeast. In my mind I was planning a move to Los Angeles or Nashville - warmer climates, and warmer winters. Talk about some bullshit.

Last week I was able to be back in Poughkeepsie for my friend Brett's funeral, and subsequently my niece's birthday and Valentine's Day, as well. And surprise - it's another brutal winter in Poughkeepsie (and all of the northeast). The snow, the wind, the below zero temps? Yup, they were all there. While I was home Poughkeepsie set a record low of -14 degrees. I'll write that out for you: negative fourteen degrees. That's seriously cold, and it was seriously windy. So windy, in fact, that I changed my flight home from Sunday to Monday because of predicted 50mph winds in White Plains.

And then Winter Storm Octavia decided it was going to come right across Tennessee, hit Nashville with an ice storm, then proceeded through the upper south, hitting Charlotte, which was my connecting city. Apparently all that terrible winter weather that I chose to leave in the northeast decided to come visit me in Music City - only I wasn't there. So, I changed my flight from Monday to Wednesday, and hunkered down while the storm brought Nashville to a halt. Shows were cancelled. School was closed for the entire week. All while I cooked dinners, and hung out with my girlfriend and my family. And I did not have a guitar or a keyboard, but I was able to be at least a little productive in other ways.

When I did finally get back to Nashville on Wednesday, the interstates I rode home on were clear, but the side roads were not. In fact, even though I know the area isn't as experienced with this weather, and even though I know everyone here is working overtime as best they can, as a person from the northeast I still find the conditions of the roads to be...well, let's just say surprising. Imagine a road with two lanes in each direction and a turning lane in the middle, with the four main travel lanes relatively cleared and the middle turning lane not cleared at all. Imagine streets cleared only where the wheels of the cars actually hit the road. Imagine cars sitting at the bottom of driveways because they can't make it up the hills to the house. My street is on a small hill and I had the tires on my GMC Safari spinning the day I got home. One Friday on the way home from rehearsal I took a detour and found myself in two precarious positions: one where I had to back up very slowly to avoid the iced-over street ahead of me, and another where I was sliding, foot on the brake, down a slight hill toward an intersection, hoping I would stop in time. Luckily, I did. My housemate slide into the curb and had his hubcap knocked off.

The point is...winter sucks. All the way around. Except for maybe in Los Angeles? Well, I still think I made the right choice. Time to get the wheels moving again.

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