Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Cold, with a side of cold

Screenshot from Weather.com. Feels like minus 41 F.-41° F wind chill. The Southern Californian in me shivers just thinking about it. But I don't need to imagine it any more. Yes. I'm a believer. Wind chill is a factor to be taken very seriously.

We went out to dinner this evening, and it was decidedly chilly. Coming home was another matter. Even my Mister, who has a high threshold for cold, was cold. Cold enough to volunteer that he might have made a slight miscalculation in his choice of jackets for the evening (a hooded sweatshirt). I didn't say, "I told you so."

For the most part, I was fine. I had on my down parka, mittens and a fleece hat. But I still didn't have my scarf, and the wind was blowing all the flags in the area straight out as if they'd been starched in place. The cold on the bridge of my nose gave me an instant headache. Watching the gentleman who walked past us in the parking lot wearing a dress shirt, a light sweater and no hat or gloves made me boggle. He didn't look even vaguely uncomfortable, and he was whistling a happy tune.

I'd make a lousy arctic explorer.

The drive home from work was kind of wacky. I ended up behind a fellow in a red car who seemed to be looking everywhere except at the road. He had on a baseball cap, and I could see the brim of the hat swinging back and forth, back and forth, back and forth as he peered out the side windows, out behind him, back out the side windows, giving only short glances to the highway in front of him. He was going just fast enough that I wasn't comfortable speeding up enough to pass him, given the way the gusty wind was trying to knock my car around. So I slowed down to give him lots of room. He'd slow down for a minute, then speed back up. Always looking back and forth out the side windows. Occasionally he'd change lanes, or drift enough I was afraid he'd go into the ditch.

This went on for several miles. I breathed a sigh of relief when he took an exit off the highway, but he drove straight through the exit to where it re-entered the highway, and got right back on, still several vehicles in front of mine. I paced myself to continue keeping a decent buffer between us.

An ambulance sped up behind us with it's sirens and flashing lights on. Everyone slowed and shifted to the right lane to let it pass. But rather than slowing down, or pulling off the side of the road, Swivelly Head Man decided to stop short, right in the middle of the lane. Everyone managed to avoid hitting him, but it was a bit too close for comfort. Even stopped, I could see the brim of his hat swinging from side to side in a 180° arc.

I took the opportunity, after the ambulance passed and while Swivelly Head Man was still stopped, to pass him, but once he got going he sped way up, as if to make up for lost time. He zipped past me, and off another highway exit, then right back onto the highway again.

A few miles later he finally took an exit that didn't have a return point on it, and continued on his swivelly way to where ever he was going. Maybe he just didn't want to end up behind Minivan Woman, who was poking along at 15 mph below the speed limit just up ahead?

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