Given the realities of “March winds,” the month came in as calmly as could be expected this year. Before the end of February we had one day so warm that I could wear my summer gear, and a couple more that required only long-sleeve jerseys instead of short sleeves. Of course we’ve also had a couple of days that didn’t make it out of the 30° range. Somehow even the low 40°s, temperatures that might have made me jump for joy in our record-cold January, don’t seem nearly so tempting to ride in these days. “Just ride indoors today, and it will warm up tomorrow,” I tell myself.
The winds, though, can still be the deal killer. I am finding that the extent to which my sinus twitches, causing my eyes to water and my post-nasal drip to begin, is controlled by the intensity of the cold breeze. Doesn’t bother me otherwise, but my sinus reaction can make a trip difficult. Two days ago, though, it was dust and winter road debris blowing around that got me. Some particularly tiny, sharp airborne particle got in my eye. It felt like salt in a wound, or some angry cat clawing away at the inside of my eyelid. I finished my ride in semi-agony, and spent the remainder of the afternoon and evening preoccupied with getting this thing out of my eye. It never budged; I never could see it in my eye, only feel it. Perhaps it really scratched my eye, because every flick of my upper eyelid traced a new line of flaming pain down and up. No eyewash, warm water solution, anything alleviated it. It was still there next morning, but less intense, and sometime around the middle of the day it was almost gone, though the whole socket of my eye remained sore from the efforts of the day before. I am giving it a couple of days to clear up altogether. Tomorrow, when I could ride, it’s going to be raining, of course.
I first heard Spring Peepers on February 28 this year. Their intense high-pitched “peep” was accompanied by what I suppose is another species with more of a midrange “quack” (not quite “croak”). The noise is very loud where they’re singing, but at 16-18 mph a rider comes on it suddenly and it fades just as fast. But one walker was so overwhelmed with all the frog sound that the poor guy had his hand to his ear so he could hear his cell phone. People like that are so clueless; the impulse is to stop, rip the phone out of his hand and hurl it into the marsh, and say “can you hear it now . . . the important sound, I mean.”
One other component to this season of transition: I am temporarily driving a Cadillac, courtesy of Enterprise car rentals. It has a V8 engine, is a good two feet longer than our 2004 Audi A6, at least 2″ or 3″ higher, several inches wider, and has discernibly larger tires and (I’m guessing) worse gas mileage. It has every bell and whistle known to Detroit. I was shocked to learn that American car manufacturers are still turning out luxury barges like this. Didn’t they learn anything from their loss of market share, the recession, their near-bankruptcy? Don’t they have any conscience, any commitment to improving the ecology and using less fossil fuel? How naive I feel to think they might.
The reason I am driving the Caddy, as you may have guessed, is that my ’99 Audi A6 is in the shop. Parked it on N St. in Georgetown the other day to do an errand. When I returned, I found that a refrigerated produce delivery truck (Keany Produce of Landover, MD) had backed into it. Scraped off the left front quarter panel, dislodged and mangled the headlight, grille, and front bumper, destroyed the tire. To his credit the driver stayed at the scene. His truck received minor scrapes. My vehicle sustained $4550 of damage. Luckily it is not totaled. Estimated time of repair: 14 days. I learned that Henry’s Towing is so good they can even extract a wreck from Georgetown and tow it to Tyson’s Corner in evening rush hour, all for a mere $136. (N St. was blocked for 8 or 9 minutes, though, while he loaded the Audi onto his flatbed.)
So perhaps it would be more correct to say that March has come in like a very annoying lamb.
©Arnold J. Bradford, 2011.