Thursday, February 28, 2013

Spring Driving

People like to talk about spring skiing around here. It's the time when there's still plenty of snow left on the slopes, but the weather's getting milder. This means you can ski all day without losing your nose to frostbite.

Well, I'm sure spring skiing is wonderful. But I'd like to talk about another New England sport:  Spring Driving.

Ok, I know it's not really spring yet. It's still nasty. It's February. We still have some quality winter weather ahead of us. But the recent rain/slush storm is similar to what we get in the spring, and it's already changing the roads to what I expect in March and April.

How are spring skiing and driving alike? You get to enjoy a constant slalom course. Rain and slush here somehow spontaneously generate potholes. Not little "bump" potholes, but axle-shattering "BAM!" potholes. They lurk under puddles. You think that puddle is 1/2 inch deep? HA! 6 inches of pothole under there! Kiss your suspension goodbye!

So in fear, you drive around suspicious-looking puddles. Which includes most of them... And they come up on you fast as you drive. So you dodge left. Then right. Then left. Then WAY to the right. Then you see the puddle taking up the ENTIRE lane, and you hold your breath and prepare for the worst. 

If you don't live around here, you might not know how narrow our lanes tend to be. Generally, they're wide enough for a mid-sized sedan. SUV's easily take up the entire width of the lane, and delivery trucks are the equivalent of oversized loads. So swerving to avoid potholes while simultaneously avoiding oncoming traffic is a bit of a challenge. 

I think there ought to be a point system involved in Spring Driving. Certain roads are more prone to spontaneous potholes, and present more of a challenge. Getting to work without hitting a pothole? That's not so hard. Few points should be awarded for that. But getting to church without hitting a pothole? That's a herculean feat. That deserves significant points. And making it to summer without needing a realignment? Your point tally doesn't matter. You know you've won.

So if you visit Boston in the spring and wonder why people appear to be driving drunk, watch carefully. The potholes come up on you fast. Following the weaving driver ahead of you might just help you save your tires.


  1. There was some city counsellor who had this great machine as part of his platform - it was a truck that could fill and repair potholes on the spot, just as it drove by. He didn't win, but I was absolutely charmed by the idea of a vehicle that would just fix potholes on the spot, dozens of potholes per day!!:)

  2. If I recall correctly, I especially hated potholes while I was pregnant...something about that extra weight bouncing up and down extra hard on your bladder, hips, aching back, etc. Hope you're handling it okay!

    BTW - will the new baby get the guest room? Where will the Clean Laundry Monster live now? ;)