Thursday, February 15, 2007

Glaciation, Long Island Style

Well, last night's commute was interesting. Mrs Stevie called just as I was leaving for my train to announce that the Babylon Line was suffering 2 hour delays.

"Good!" I said. I hate those smug Babylon bastards with their "peak train every ten minutes out of Penn Station" sneers and their "elevated track the entire way to prevent 'debris' strikes" sardonicism. Serves the buggers right.

Then Mrs Stevie told me that the Ronkonkoma branch wasn't running at all.

"%@*$!" I said, but vowed to reserve judgement in case this was just annother cunning ambush ploy by my beloved.

Long story short, some nitwit in a car had collided with another nitwit in a tractor-trailer rig and the car had been launched onto the trackbed. They had, however, scraped it off by the time I got to Flatbush Avenue LIRR station and so we actually made it home, albeit half an hour late.

I park quite a way away from the trains themselves, and have to cross the entire carpark to get to my car. This process was made more exciting than usual by the fact that the carpark resembled a one inch to one inch scale model of the Athabasca Glacier. I know this because I've been on it. Ice as far as the eye could see (admittedly not that far because of all the cars) and every car was once again covered in a thick layer of nature's bubble wrap.

It was truly bizarre crossing the car park as literally dozens of idiots tried to scrape the ice off their windshields before their heaters had had time to loosen it from the glass. I had the distinct impression I was surrounded by a village of neolithics fashioning stone tools, the noise was so loud and evocative.

Upon reaching the Steviemobile I was able to trip the locks with my "clicker" and the ice cracked on the door enough for me to open it and get in (yes, the ice was thick enough to weld the doors shut on some vehicles that night). I eschewed scraping the windows because it was obvious that the glass would have to be warm for doing so to be of any use, and if I was gong to warm the glass I might as well wait for the ice to just melt enough for the windshield wipers to deal with it. This course of action was doubly wise because I had neglected to load a scraper into the trunk before departing Chateau Stevie that morning.

So I sat revving the engine again (because the heater doesn't work when the engine is cold and just idling, keep up!) while pondering life's eternal verities and stuff and wondering if the car would slide all over the shop on the Wyandanch Ice Field. The Steviemobile proved completely at home on the ice though, and conveyed me home safely once I could actually see to drive. It was when I attempted to enter my home that the trouble started in earnest.

The ice that coated everything had managed to bring down another limb from one of my dead-and-loving-it maple trees. The limb had apparently landed in the middle of the path and exploded, coating everything with little twigs. Which promptly froze into the landscape, forming a surface not unlike that depicted in WWI paintings of No-Man's Land.

Fighting through this series of tank-traps did wonders for the old ankles and I was in high sprits by the time I reached the front door. I struggled with the locks while the freezing wind howled around me, threatening to slam open the screen door and visit yet more damage to the frame as a result, but finally won through to the inside of the house.

Where I found Mrs Stevie engaged in chanting a litany of swear words while filling my wet-vac from the lake that had formed on the basement floor. The gutters must have overflowed during some brief period of sunlight, before refreezing. Since Mr Downspout was probably still frozen, water must have run down the outside of the house as the roof heated up under the sun.

Realising that she probably didn't want to be disturbed, I left her to it, commandeered the TV from the Gamecubing Stevieling and sat back to watch "Forbidden Planet" in peace.

No comments: