Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Living Deep

If you live in the Northeast, you already know about the wall of wintry weather this area slammed into late last night. We got between 5" and 6" at my house. Sleet & freezing rain persist as I type this.

My wife's a teacher, so she's enjoying a Snow Day at home with our 15-month old son. It was no small task leaving them this morning, but my conscience insisted: "You drive a 4x4 SUV. Others will make the commute in lesser-equipped vehicles. There is no excuse for calling out."

Anticipating a long ride, I reached for a Rocky Patel Junior natural on my way out the door - a tasty 20 or 30 minute petite corona to enjoy with my coffee. But before I ever had a chance to light it, I almost bit the big one.

When an 18-wheeler swerved in front of me to avoid a spinning-out car, I quickly downshifted into drive 2, then drive 1, engine-braking to avoid a similar spinout. But given my momentum, there was no way to avoid hitting the tractor trailer, so I ditched the car into the snow-covered grass median.

Whoa.

Head? Check. Hands? Check. Arms? Legs? Feet? Check. Everything where it's supposed to be, except the Pathfinder. But it's okay - I've avoided any damage to myself or my vehicle.

Friends, I've never been so excited to fire up a cigar. After calling home to shed some nerves, I reflected on how it all might have ended. It's not enough to be careful. Thoreau strove to "live deep and suck the marrow out of life." Today I recommit myself to the same, my family beside me, and a fine cigar in my hand.

Please share your thoughts with a comment.

- Hayward Tenney

7 comments:

Syrlinus said...

I so do not miss the morning commute. When I used to live in Burlington, ON (Canada) I would bike (yes, bicycle) to work and back. About 30-45 min each way. All-year on a single speed.

I do not miss it but am glad you're ok.

BCL said...

WOW, people are NUTS when it snows and they get behind the wheel. Glad you are ok. I had a Plow one time attempt to run me off the road because I honked my horn when he cut me off. There was 4 inches of snow on the ground, and I had gone 10 miles in 4 hours. NUTS!

jonsiddle said...

Glad to hear that you are alright. A good friend of mine called last night and more or less the same thing happened to him up near Chicago. Totaled his truck unfortunately. But he turned out ok too.

Steveo said...

Good thing you had quick reflexes! That could have been a disaster. My normally 45 minute commute to work took 90 minutes this morning. I love my eclipse but it's sure not built for this kind of weather! Maybe my next car will be a hummer.

Oh well, hopefully the roads will be a little better for the ride home.

PapiHerm said...

Whoa!!!

I live in Philadelphia, and I saw the same thing on my slow crawl in this morning. A woman speeding in an SUV 3 cars in front of me hit a patch of ice changing lanes, swirved several times, did a 360, and came to rest against a guard rail. Smashed the heck out of her Jeep, but she was o.k. - just scared $#@#!less I'm sure.

Humberto Gonzalez said...

Whoa, Hayward!! No wonder you look a bit disheveled this morning. Lunch is on me, buddy. But you're driving. Considering you already had your eye-opener today, the chances are better we'll survive the trek to Gennaro's with you behind the wheel.

FWIW, I've had similar experiences. The most memorable of which happened about 15 years ago when I flipped over my SUV after slipping on a patch of black ice. Walking away fairly unscathed with just a busted tailbone after tumbling around on the asphalt, I counted my blessings. I didn't smoke cigars back then but that bottle of Jack sure did come in handy when I got home.

Glad to see you're ok, my friend.

Andrew Parmet said...

Glad to see your stunt driver training paid off! The weather tends to bring the crazies out of the woodwork. Hopefully your evening commute will be mundane by comparison.