Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Notes on Fleeing a Hurricane

I've been out of commission for a while, mostly because Hurricane Sandy decided to rip through the entire east coast like a million hordes of Vikings on crystal meth.  On the positive side, I did learn a few useful life lessons while driving from Connecticut to my parents' house in Michigan in a desperate attempt to escape the worst of the storm:

1.  If you have to make emergency hotel plans, the Marriott is usually a pretty good bet.  They're clean, the rooms are nice, they have a complimentary breakfast, and they're very understanding when you have to change your reservation dozens of times to beat the weather.

2.  Tossing blankets and a flashlight and a first aid kit and a snow shovel and a month's supply of food and water in the car is pretty much a scaled-up version of grabbing an umbrella every time you leave the house while rain is on the forecast.  Absolutely nothing bad happened to us.  We didn't even run into any of that snow the Weather Channel was so direly predicting.

3.  Pennsylvania gets an unfair rap as a boring state.  True, it's pretty sparsely populated in places and it takes ten eternities to drive through, but the scenery is anything but boring.  We passed lots of high green hills, clear mountain streams, and picturesque old white farm houses in grassy valleys.  My favorite part of the trip was the stretch of I-80 that winds through the dynamite-scarred walls of a towering mountain ridge, with a big river churning in a deep gorge on one side.  Try piloting a two-and-a-half-ton car through there at 70 miles an hour while blasting one of the metal stations on Sirius XM at full volume sometime.  You'll feel like you're in a freaking Iron Maiden video.

4.  Speaking of Sirius XM, satellite radio is pretty awesome.  Getting a new car that offers a free six-month satellite radio trial is even more awesome.

5.  Seriously, Denny's?  A grilled cheese sandwich with fried mozzarella sticks in it?  No, I didn't actually order it; I don't want to die of a massive coronary at age 30.  I also concede that it's not quite as awful as that burger at Friendly's that's served between two grilled cheese sandwiches instead of a bun, but still.  You fail, Denny's.  You make morbidly obese American Baby Jesus cry tears of pure melted butter.
    Also, your coffee is pretty bad.  And when I can tell your coffee is bad, you've got some nasty, stank-ass coffee.

6.  Note to self: no matter how desperate for money you are, never, ever get a job as a Weather Channel reporter.   

7.  Your new car with all-wheel drive is ever-so-slightly wider than your old car, which was the same model but only had front-wheel drive.  It won't make much of a difference for ordinary suburban driving, but it will somehow make city driving and parallel parking ten times more horrid.

8.  There is a secret branch of the federal government known as the Department of Highway Inconvenience.  They are the ones responsible for arranging such obstacles as closed lanes in a "construction zone" with no workers or actual construction equipment in sight; truckers who drive for a living, yet somehow don't know how to use cruise control; and those dratted oversized-load trucks that crawl along at forty miles an hour while you sit stuck behind them in your zippy little sportscar and fume. 
    They secretly analyze your driving patterns and carefully select just the right annoyances to throw at you the second you leave your house.  They get me every time I venture onto the interstate, usually with dumbasses who jabber away on their cell phones while bearing right down on my bumper or the brutally effective tag team of slow-ass-old-guy and jerk-who-won't-let-me-into-the-passing-lane.  You will never convince me that this department doesn't exist.

9.  Finally, if you live in Connecticut and won't get a backup generator for your house after a hurricane passes through, you're a bit unreasonable.
     If you still won't get a generator after a huge destructive snow storm and another hurricane pass through, I seriously question your judgement.  Especially if you're on well water.
     If all of the above are true, and you're also my landlord, it doesn't exactly encourage me to think happy fluffy marshmallow thoughts about you.  Please, Connecticut landlords, do the right thing and get generators.  Your tenants will love you for it.  Hell, I'd be willing to pay extra for it.  Think of the happy marshmallow thoughts, Connecticut landlords.  Think of the happy marshmallow thoughts.

That is all.    

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