Saturday, November 29, 2008

Novice Fishtails in Maine

I trust everyone had a good Thanksgiving, either with family and/or loved ones. Michael and I went an hour north to a little town to a gathering of 8, all new people to me. One is a history professor of the French Revolution, another runs the law department at this university, and assorted other intellectuals. The discussions were weighty and complex, although interesting. Food was good and I brought lobster hor'd oeuvers to help support the failing lobster industry here. All these little towns are very old (to us Californians)(but not to you Europeans) and are patchworks of Victorians and Capes that make you believe this is the 1800's. This town has some notoriety for lawn art, and the history professor showed us a picture book with strange and imaginative folk art in front yards. Come spring he is planning to make a long dragon from discarded crutches.
As I turned into the university driveway on Tuesday, my car fishtailed on the black ice.... you can't see it even if you are looking for it. So, ok we drive slowly in winter, but why does everyone drive slowly in summer too? I don't see banged-up cars from sliding into each other, so they obviously drive appropriately. I also don't see any older cars either. This must be from the salting of the roads in winter rusting out undercarrages. Did you know that salt lowers the melting temperature of ice, so ice on the road, when salted, melts for a short time and traffic then has a chance to slosh it to the curb. Just like the salt in your ice cream maker makes the ice melt into a slurry, which is actually colder than the ice itself.
The next car I get (could be a long, long time) must have heated seats, mirrors, and all wheel drive if I am to continue living here. A large portion of vehicles here are stick shift for better control in snow and ice. For some reason foreign cars like Saab, and Volvo are more prevailant here. Are they better in winter? I have begun to place my sunglasses (yes, it is bright sunshine even when twenty degrees) on the defroster near the windshield for a minute or so, so they don't fog-up when I first put them on.
Maine's slogan is "A Better Way to Live", but I wonder by whose standards?

No comments:

Post a Comment