Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Wanna look stupid? No need for a carrot nose

On telly young men in North Face anoraks screech about Britain’s snowfall using rhetoric and sometimes the vocabulary employed in last week’s financial crisis. Contrapuntally, other young men, much more chic, are saying how much better Moscow and Calgary are at coping with their snow. A pointless match null weather story since no local authority south of Inverness is prepared to invest in a fleet of rarely used bulldozers or a Ben Nevis of salt. Or is it grit?

Temperate Dorking, discommoded for all of forty-eight hours, must bite on the bullet and suffer. In Pittsburgh, where I dwelt for a year or two, things were different. The snow was thicker and the Democrat Machine knew what to do about that. What it couldn’t compensate for were the street gradients in the southern suburbs. Steep? Wow!

Locals carried sacks of cement in the already overhanging trunks (ie, boots) of their Chevvy Impalas. Thus when the car’s back end slid sideways in the slush the pendulum effect became uncontrollable. Me? I bought studded rear tyres for my Volvo 122S and smugly sailed up all those forbidding ski-slopes. So smug that I drove out that evening deliberately searching for the most vertiginous thoroughfares.

America knows how to punish smugness. What I hadn’t realised was that those rear wheels would play virtually no role at all when I started descending and needed to brake. The front wheels locked and the Volvo became a Flexible Flyer. Sweatily I guided the car to the roadside and allowed the kerb, graunching against the tyres, to bring things to a halt. At that point I would have been available for a screeching interview about snowy roads.


Avus said...

One would think that the end of the world was nigh, by the recent south eastern weather forcasts. We had two inches of snow in Kent. Many schools closed and many businesses reported absenteeism. Yet my wife and I motored serenely from Ashford to Canterbury for lunch with no problems, exclaiming on the prettiness of it all.

I can remember walking 2 miles to my country primary school with snow over the hedgerows (1947 winter) and us all sitting in steaming wet clothes with one large coal stove in the corner of the classroom. (Is that history, now?)

God help us if ever the "Dunkirk Spirit" is needed again.

Relucent Reader said...

A good and timely post,BB.

That is the secret: keep the streets plowed,a lesson learned in Chicago (and Boston)by Democrats for many years.Here in Central VA, church services are cancelled when depths of snow my previous Yankee incarnation would have sneered at fall.

Hear hear to Avus's lament in re: "Dunkirk Spirit". Same goes here. People drive Conex sized SUV's , then block "serenely motored" (great phrase, Sir) progress at their inevitable wreck. More smugness getting dope slapped.

Barrett Bonden said...

Avus: And did you eat gravel for school lunch?

RR: I'm usually well up on American allusions but "Conex sized" has beaten me. However, I'd rather not know. There's a kind of spitting anger about that sentence which shouldn't be diluted by translating for off-cumd'uns.

Relucent Reader said...

Conex, a storage container used in the US military (at least back in my day)to ship stuff. 10x15 (ft) was the size I was alluding to.

Avus said...

Ready-made gravel?? LUXURY! We had to break up rocks small enough before we could eat them.
(Only Monty Python fans will know what we are on about, BB)

Barrett Bonden said...

Avus: And only whinging wens from the West Riding will instinctively recognise the rhythmic threnody of a dialogue that seeks so go one worse on the previous speaker.