Current mood: Tired

Currently listening to: Nothing

Today was the worst commute I’ve ever had.

At 5:30am, it started to snow. No big deal, right? “Just a flurry” I thought to myself. But lo and behold, when I went out to the car a few minutes later (6am), there was nearly a quarter of an inch of snow on the ground. ARGH. So, being lazy (and late) I just started the car and let the snow blow off – which was fine, it was just that light, dusty stuff. Well, apparently it snowed all over the place, very quickly and very suddenly, because all the roads were covered in a thin layer of snow-turned-ice, and since nobody expected it, there was no sand or salt on the roads at all. Which means that they were like ice. No big deal for my AWD Keithmobile, but for many other people (most other people, really) it was hell.

Route 2, just in Leominster: big accident, traffic is crawling along at 5mph. A Toyota Tacoma had crashed head-on (well, almost) into the barrier on the left of the highway. Police, ambulance, etc. After getting by that, things smoothed out. 190 was a breeze – but then I got into Worcester.

Route 290, in Worcester: spin-outs galore. One happened just feet before my exit. Crawled off the highway nearly a half-hour behind my normal schedule. My mood was NOT GOOD at this point. But, I was pleased with my driving so far, so I did some experiments on the freshly-iced (yes, iced, the snow was fresh in Worcester and had only been packed down a bit by passing cars, it was like driving on sheer ice) roads; fish-tailed almost out of control, but recovered easily thanks to AWD. Locked up my brakes (the only down side to my new car, no ABS 🙁 what an oversight, Mitsubishi… tsk tsk tsk) and slid around a bit, but nothing too bad. I’m actually glad I had the time to get to know the new car’s handling in snow – goodness knows I’ll need it soon.

ANYWAY… moving along a bit in time in my story, I hear that 290 and 495 are messed up and traffic is at a standstill. So, I try the back-roads. BIG MISTAKE. 122 through Worcester is GRIDLOCKED. It took me over an hour to get just a few miles to the pike. I’m never going that way again (it didn’t help that there were like 3 different schools along that road).

Route 90, the Massachusetts Turnpike in Milbury/Worcester: moved along quite nicely for a bit, even got past 495… but then, the gridlock began. For the next 3 hours I sat on the pike, moving a little bit here and there, trying to keep sane. My leg was sore from braking & accelerating … mostly braking, because we were moving so slow that even the engine’s idle speed was too fast for traffic. I arrived at the Natick rest area to stretch my legs, take a piss and get some breakfast, hoping that the worst traffic might move along while I was inside (hey, it’s happened before!). No such luck though; things were just as bad when I got out. Thankfully, just after the on-ramp for 128 in Weston, the pike suddenly cleared up (everyone must’ve been going onto 128) and I made it the rest of the way without incident. Of course, by this point it was 11am, and I’m usually home by that time. Overall, it took me 4 1/2 hours to get into Boston from Worcester today. My average speed was 6 MPH, along a distance of 44 miles. Apparently, it was the same story on EVERY road leading into or out of Boston today; 95, 93, 128, etc. At one point, the Pike was apparently backed up ALL THE WAY TO ROUTE 84.

I think everyone here has just forgotten how to drive in the snow. From the radio reports, there were accidents literally everywhere – in a 10 mile stretch of highway (which might take you over an hour to pass) one reporter saw 10 accidents – one every mile. Spinouts, jack-knifed trailers, roll-overs, the works. I mean, PLEASE people, remember how to drive!!! And it wasn’t even a lot of snow or anything, just a little dusting, but since it came so suddenly, and since there was no sand on the road, you’d expect people to be a little careful – but NO… that’s asking too much from your average commuter, it seems.

So, I arrived home at around 2:30pm today, in a very “homicidal” mood… and of course had my work cut out for me. Not as bad as some days, though. Thankfully, I’m good at what I do (hey, I wrote the program I should know how it works) so I answered 6 support voice mail messages in under an hour, taking care of the entire backlog for the day. Ahhh, peace at last.

On another topic, my PHP sticker arrived over Thanksgiving, and is now proudly attached to my new car, so that anyone can know:

1) That I use PHP

2) That they are seeing my car

3) That I am a geek

Unfortunately, I cannot say (as I did with my old C++ sticker, which is no longer available for ordering, alas!) that my car is the only car in New England with a PHP sticker. Just a day or two before I got my sticker, I saw a Jeep Wrangler at the Framingham rest area on the Mass Pike with a PHP sticker on it’s bumper. *sigh* Well, I CAN say that I’m probably the only SUV (a Wrangler is NOT an SUV; it’s a Jeep… end of story) with a PHP sticker on the back. And besides, the Outlander is so… distinctive… that if you see it, and the PHP sticker, you’ll know it’s me. Here’s a picture!

My New Sticker!

So, now you know how to find me. Honk if you see me!!

Okay, I think that’s all for now. I’ll try to keep this blog updated a bit more often this month, I know I’ve been falling behind.

Peace out, y’all.

By Keith Survell

Geek, professional programmer, amateur photographer, crazy rabbit guy, only slightly obsessed with cute things.