The start of 2012 also has meant the start of substantial snowfall in Western Pennsylvania.
First thing this morning, I helped my neighbor push her car out of another neighbor’s driveway. She’d started down our street, which hadn’t been plowed, and decided to turn around and try it from the other direction. Which explained why she was in the wrong driveway.
I’ve certainly had problems in the past getting out of my own driveway. Once, my father-in-law had to drive over with a bunch of salt to get us up and out. I’ve since opted for four- or all-wheel-drive vehicles, which helps considerably … unless I’m driving to Buffalo on New Year’s Day. (See Listen, the Snow Is Falling.)
Back in the mid-’80s, I drove an Oldsmobile Omega, which perhaps was the worst car ever built this side of the Iron Curtain. One night, I was driving on Seventh Street in Indiana, PA, following a snowstorm. I tapped the brake pedal slightly.
The next thing I knew, the car had reversed direction and was skidding toward a gas station, with no way for me to control anything. Finally, we came to a halt about a foot away from one of the pumps.
That could have been ugly.
At least the Omega had front-wheel drive, which usually got it around decently in the snow, although GM hadn’t quite perfected the technology: The seals that held the transmission fluid kept tearing. Not a good way to keep the car running.
My dad once had a Chevy Vega, a rear-wheel drive piece of junk that got no traction whatsoever. He had to put sandbags in the back to try to make a go of it each winter.
The original Junk in the Trunk!
Associated listening: “Goats Head Soup” by the Rolling Stones (1973)