Erie Journal, 1/28/11

Thought I’d drop you a line via the Erie Journal to update my faithful readers on how the ol’ dreaded winter is going (click here for all previous Erie Journals).

Well, so far, so good.  By Erie standards, it’s been a mild winter.  We’ve actually missed all the huge snow storms that have made national news.  So far, the biggest “official” snow fall has been around 8 inches.  However, this does not mean the “lake effect” snow is not in effect; instead of getting a few multiple-foot events, what we get is snow every day.  Seriously.  One to three inches, every damn day.  So while we haven’t got any of the huge totals of other spots in the north, we still have a higher season-to-date inch total that most places (we’re around 60 inches so far this winter).

The reason I give you all this background info is to explain a phenomenon I only recently realized was happening to me (actually, two phenomena):  One, I quite seriously do not even notice the snow anymore.  I mean this very literally.  Both when falling from the sky, and gathered on the ground, I usually do not even realize it is happening.  And two, when you are constantly driving in snow, you get very, very good at driving in snow.

I don’t think I’ve ever been a bad snow driver, but sometime about 3 weeks ago I realized I had suddenly become very good at it.  This is not to say that I’m not still very careful when need be, but much of the techniques of snow driving (such as the differences of what to do between a rear-wheel skid and a front-wheel skid, and the subtleties of snow braking) have become instinct and happen without any thought.  And the fact is, skids happen a lot, but since almost everybody is always going an appropriate speed with ample distance between vehicles, if one knows how to properly steer out of a skid, it’s really not a big deal.  And since 80% of my driving takes place in areas with high concentrations of red lights, there are frequent stop-skids, but as I said, proper speed and distance are key.  Again, I have gotten off track here.  What I’m trying to get at is, it’s quite strange how quickly that driving part of your brain—where a lot is happening below the surface—adapts with skill to new environments.  I had done plenty of snow driving back home, but the difference between doing it 12 times a year to seven days a week is pretty huge.

And the fact that I don’t even notice the snow?  Weird.  I walk out to go to work, snow is falling from the sky, and it’s just…nothing.  No thought about how I am going to have to drive in this mess, not even an oh that’s pretty.  It has become way too normal of an event to be worth noting in even as much as a Facebook status.  Might as well say “It’s really hot” every damn day during the summer.  That is the equivalent of the snow in Erie.  And really, it’s not totally a bad thing, at least, not as long as it keeps only being a few inches a day.  If we start getting feet at a time, it will be a different story.

Oh, and there is a quality to the Erie air (I don’t fully understand it) that causes ice crystals to form on the inside of your car windows, but only on especially cold days (seems to happen at around 20 degrees).  It doesn’t happen to everyone, but it seems to afflict about half of all vehicles, by my very unscientific polling.  Here is a picture of the ice on the inside of my driver’s side window on a recent day:


As you can imagine, this is quite frustrating, as it is not at all easy to remove (especially from the windshield).  You can’t really use a scraper, and it seems to actually be hardier than ice on the outside windshield.  This interior ice often takes as long as 15 minutes to melt via defrost.  It is quite odd.  I’d love to know why my car is one of the afflicted ones.

OK, that will be enough for now, even though I’ve got enough material for another few Erie Journals, but this is getting kinda long.  More coming in the near future!

6 Responses to “Erie Journal, 1/28/11”

  1. Check to see if your vent is open, and close it before you put the car to bed at night. Check all posibilities for outside weather coming inside the car….cracked windows.

    Scratch my last comment, and read this. Love, Momma

    • sethdellinger Says:

      This is very interesting indeed, Momma. There is all kinds of snow on my floor, but I’m not sure if I’m prepared to do anything about it. I mean, there always being snow on the ground, and it not being above freezing for the past month, I would have to clean the snow off the floor every single day, and that would just not be easy at all…thanks for the info!

  3. It is very strange that ice is forming on the inside of your car. I have never seen that happen before. I can’t imagine it snowing every day either. Do you feel that getting snow every day in the winter is a pro or con of living in Erie?

    • sethdellinger Says:

      I guess my vote is out on that for now. What with me not even noticing it anymore, at the moment I’d say it’s neutral.

  4. Excellent point about the not even noticing and facebook updating. So many people update and say “it is so hot,” that is what the summer is for, why bother.

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