Monday, January 5, 2015

Rain, Vomit...Pancakes and Rain. Part 1

Birmingham, Alabama...January 2nd, 2015

Dreary going out and violent coming back.

Follow the red patches down from Tuscaloosa to the bottom of the and the Big Man are between Livingston and a gas station. In the dark.

Just as we passed Eutaw the bottom fell out...dropped liked an atom bomb. I had about a foot of visibility...and 20 miles to the next exit. I followed the red tail lights of the car in front of us as closely as I dared. You just don't know how people are going to react when they go blind...they will just stop...even on the interstate...or they'll pull off on the shoulder and suddenly you're not on the road anymore...with no where to go.  You wait for the car behind you, doing the same thing, to get up in your trunk.

I have spent my life on the interstates and highways of The South and the US. If I asked an actuary he would probably tell me I should be nervous every time I get behind the wheel at this point...but, it's one of the most comfortable places I can think of. Not Saturday night...not since I ignorantly climbed up on the Red Mountain Pass a few years ago have my nerves been that racked in a car. I had the Big Man on board...of course, he was passed out in the back.

Thank God...we fishtailed and slid our way to the next exit and a Chevron station.* It was a gathering of shell shocked drivers...soaked and bug-eyed. There were flash flood warnings, tornado warnings** was raining sideways, screaming through under the awning. The Big man just wanted a sandwich...a ham and cheese sandwich from the in store Subway.

"You want any mayonnaise or mustard?"

"No sir...just ham and cheese...and bread of course."

We weren't gettin' back on the road anyway...and I was just glad he was eating (more on that later). I just need a cup of coffee...but they didn't have any coffee cups...let that sink coffee cups at a gas station. Then the lights went out!

"E'erybody stay where you at...Lock the doh," the girl barked from behind the counter.

Her first instincts were protect the store's property and shield herself from any responsibility for it's loss. Then the lights flickered back on...and her better instincts kicked in. Standing elevated, like in a pulpit, looking down above the crowd gathered at the door...

"Man fu****** this...I gotsta go!"

"Daddy can I eat my sandwich in the car?"

As we went through the unlocked door, I heard her...

"No. No. You do not need to talk ugly to me."

Anyway that's what happens when the lights go out at the curb store. This is what happens when you steal...
Other than some spicy fried chicken from Popeye's...that was the trip back. The trip out began with a bag of candy corn. We'll get to all that...

 *Just so you know adamparsons...we filled up for 1.89 a gallon. Adamparsons has a fascination with our gas prices...he tracks 'em like a trainspotter.
*Tornado watch means the conditions are right for a tornado...tornado Warning means one has touched down in the area.


  1. Reading this makes me wish I wash in America, *wash was a typo, but it kinda makes sense in the context of the weather. Good job I'm not though. You wouldn't want to be relying on my tail lights, I've already ditched 3 tractors on farmland. I'm the type of nervous freak who slams the accelerator when I've crashed.

    What? All that and no coffee cups. Sucks.

    Tried to have a closer look at the "...when you steal" pic, but I got, p (1).txt. Something painful I imagine.

    My Grandfather was born over there, but his father brought him back to the UK leaving two sisters behind, and this morning that makes me feel quite sad. Probably for the best, I'm sure I'd have ended up a bum on the streets.

    P.S. I'd love to be a passenger in your car :)

    1. You wouldn't have wanted to be in there Saturday night.

      No. No coffee cups...that was the true disaster.

      That's an awful picture...even by phone standards. The fella that bottom is known as Sugar Daddy...I do remember that. Ha. For whom does one qualify as a Sugar Daddy by shoplifting at curb stores?

      Take comfort in knowing that America is huge and that most of it is abysmal or even worse...bland.

      Dood I haven't been able to comment on your slab...I've been kicked out! What?

    2. Erik, I love you and there's no way I'd kick you out. I'm a moody old bugger and I temporarily disabled comments. Enabled now. Just in case you don't read this, I'll send you a brief email hello.

  2. All this for a game of 'football'? Blimey! Mind you, the weather can catch you anywhere. having said that, your weather is bonkers compared to ours. I hate driving in super-heavy rain and you just can't trust the the nutcases in the other cars. Have to admire that store's approach to fighting shoplifting, though. Looking forward to part two - hope things improved.

    1. If I had it to do over again, I would have taken the warnings a little more seriously. I was in contact with Jenny...conveniently the weather follows a pretty sure course from Jackson to Birmingham. I was just hoping that it would move North East faster than we were moving South West...we should have just spent another night out.

      "for a football game"...of course.

      That was just Saturday's excitement...Friday night had it's own special trials.

  3. Blimey, Erik, what a trip. I'm just glad you're here to report it. It seems rather apt that your Big Man there was preoccupied with the weather and the Great Storm etc only the other day too. And I never knew that somewhere called Birmingham could be so exciting...

    The, ahem, 'pin-ups' look fascinating...stroke of genius to publicly shame them like that.

    Looking forward to next instalment.

    1. The part of Birmingham we ended up in had the potential for all kinds of excitement.

      I was just glad he slept through the worst of the ride. After the worst had passed and we were back at was the lightning that bothered him. There was a lot of it and we had to have a long discussion about grounding.

      You should see what happens when somebody writes a bad check :0.

  4. It was raining coming round the M60, Manchester this morning. And dark.

    Not really much of a comparison is it

    1. It all depends on whether you get where your going or not I guess. Around town here, there are those that panic at the slightest mist.

      Of course it would dangerous for me in any weather because I pull up on the wrong side of the highway.

  5. The terrifying driving conditions and horrific weather sound awful, but wait...NO COFFEE CUPS! WTF! How did you restrain yourself from trashing the joint? At that point I'd have taken a position laying under the coffee tap with my mouth wide open.

    1. I know...horrifying! I was ready to get right back in it but, I had to think of The Boy.

  6. This post puts our British anxieties over the occasional fall of snow into proper context. We seem to obsess about weather so much here, but I really do wonder why when I hear about the climatic events that occur elsewhere.

    One of the stranger weather experiences of my life occurred in the US some years ago. We drove into Death Valley in a heavy downpour as the road was assaulted by periodic flash floods. When we reached our destination we joked about the Brits always bringing wet weather with them. The friendly gift shop lady told us they actually get more rain than people imagine, but usually, it evaporates before it hits the ground!

    I've always thought I'd like to see a proper twister, but appreciate there's a big difference between being fascinated by the spectacle and having to live with the reality of them wreaking havoc in your own back yard. I hope you and your family are staying safe.

    1. I've only been out west a few times but, I went to New Mexico just after a torrential tore that place up. I wouldn't want to be out there in a heavy rain.

      I was at the house a few years ago when a four or five of them criss crossed across our side of town. The strangest thing was hearing the pine trees snap...POW...POW. There roots are too deep for them to topple but they'll snap. The tornado sounds like a freight train.

  7. Stop whining, Bartlam.I had to drive half a mile through squally showers to our local Sainsbury's this morning, but you don't catch me blogging about it!

    Come to think of it, the most terrifying driving conditions I've ever encountered were in a snowstorm in Alabama. How come they didn't mention any of this stuff in "Gone with the Wind"?

    Anyway, here's hoping your grace under pressure is rewarded and you and your boy make it there and back without mishap.

    1. I think I've mentioned this before...but I believe you and I probably passed each other that day. My Aunt had gotten married that weekend in Atlanta and we were on our way back to Jackson.
      Poor Martha had come down with the crud and she was laid out in the back of the vehicle...we slid through every bridge.

  8. I'm travelling to Birmingham (UK) next weekend. Will check my wind-screen wipers prior to departure! Glad all ok.

    1. Very good to see you here ma'am.

      Hopefully I can back to it, and everybody else's blogs at some point today...we've had the squirreliest week.

      Be careful out there.