Tuesday, February 09, 2010
A tractor trailer ready to skid and crash into me on 83 North at 35 mph.
Here it is again. Snow. Up to twenty inches of the stuff. Some of my friends are crying and bemoaning more snowfall. I'm crying and bemoaning the fact that my Land Rover needs a new master cylinder and is not ready for this challenge, buried under thirty inches of snow. Instead, my trusty steed, the GMC Sonoma, has been performing admirably in blizzard conditions.
The weird thing about Baltimore is the general panic that ensues whenever snow is on the horizon. People go nuts. Bread, milk, eggs - they clear them out. The grocery stores are slammed as though people never stock their larders for more than a day. There's a rush on toilet paper??? Do people not keep toilet paper at home??? It's all very confounding to me.
As the snow starts to fall and everyone has rushed home, I've had enough of the fear and venture out to do something. But what to do on a day when everyone has panicked and gone home for the next three days? Ah, the cigar shop will be open!
Off to Towson Faders I go, where I find the usual motley assortment of regulars bored with the snow and being at home.
As the snow grows in intensity, so does the smoke filling the room. Conversation, camaraderie, jokes, stories, it's all good ensconced in the bubble of blue smoke surrounding us. Scott tells stories of explosives and fireworks in Buffalo, Bryan's neighbors don't help out in clearing the common alleyway, Mike's showing us photos on his Blackberry of the big-titted girl he's dating (and they are rather massive), Jim is showing everyone his new phone, Ron is talking about his radio show, Other Mike calls in periodically to tell us that he's on the way (he never makes it), that other guy is irritating everyone else and Ripley is sitting quietly to the side smoking those Nat Sherman cigarettes with the colorful wrappers.
It's a nice time and respite from the blustery weather that's piling snow at a rate of 1.5" per hour. By the time we leave, nearly five inches has fallen and everything is covered in white over a suspicious layer of slush and probably ice. The reports coming in throughout the evening have been ominnous. The roads are bad. Stay home. The governor might declare a state of emergency.
As I make my way home through the storm, the streets are snow-covered but nothing too difficult to navigate. They're nothing like the roads on Friday night - those were bad and I really thought that I could be in serious trouble. Tonight, it's relatively smooth sailing, except for the tractor trailers high-tailing it at high speed on 83 North.