Octopus' Garden

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


In warmer climates, the center line is defined by reflective Bott's Dots stuck onto freeways with epoxy, but here, in snow country, snow plows scrape them right off, so highways are striped old-school style--with trucks and hoses and spray nozzles. Sometimes the paint is garnished with a shrapnel glitter of reflective glass beads for better visibility.

(When I was a kid, the dashed passing-lane stripes always reminded me of the dashed middle lines in those amazingly racist red Big Chief Tablets that we had to buy for school every year, along with our Elmer's Glue, Crayola Crayons, and Ticonderoga #2 pencils.)

Here, the center line can sometimes be tricky and elusive. Have you ever been unexpectedly caught in a bad snowstorm? The tense drive home--head hanging out the side window when the flurries get too bad, trying to find the center line? Bracing for the invisible collision?

(I was skipped forward, so never really became adept at penmanship. I sign my books with the leaning, too-careful cursive of a first-grader. Without any lines I go off the road completely, which is okay, because lines are overrated anyway and I have 4-wheel drive, but still . . . off road is off road and on the highway there's too much traffic to write over the center line.)

Here, it's three degrees below zero already tonight. More storms and flurries on their way.


I'm hanging my head out the window looking for that shimmer of yellow, some tiny glint of spark not snow, to guide my way back to who and where I was before.
posted by Artichoke Heart at 8:49 PM


I hope you're not wearing earrings while you hang your head out the window, because your lobes will freeze.

Seriously though, I remember driving in a snowstorm from Colorado to Nevada, guided only by the reflections of those sticks on the side of the road. It was like a cosmic snowy game of connect-the-dots.

Or, was it Wyoming?, where I had to turn the headlights off and drive by the parking lights to be able to see the tire tracks left by the previous car. When I finally made it off the interstate, it turned out to have been closed for several hours.

Keep a set of coveralls in your trunk.
Blogger Ktrion, at 1:51 PM  
I always found Elmer's to be amazingly horscist.
Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:27 PM  
Yes, and Crayola Crayons? Cruelly paraffinist!
Blogger Artichoke Heart, at 3:52 PM  
This is gorgeous. I am so glad you're back!
Blogger Dr. Medusa, at 6:39 PM  
I love the secrets in the parentheses; they are my new favorite device (parentheses--but secrets too, I guess).
Blogger m. psychosis, at 10:07 PM  
(I suspect I find the parentheses much too succulent for my own good. Also? I think I may suffer from ellipsephilia.)
Blogger Artichoke Heart, at 11:14 PM  

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