Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Ah, October

I love October. There's no doubt summer has relinquished it's grip, fall is here for real and winter is racing up behind us.

I left class last night while there was still some twilight in the sky. It was in the forties, and it was starting to sprinkle earnestly—not enough rain to make me put on my raingear, but a steady, modest, regular sprinkling. In short order it coated both the inside and outside of my windshield, visor and glasses with fine droplets (a total of six beaded-up surfaces) making the world in front of me something of an educated guess.

The best thing you can do in a situation like that is simply reduce the number of surfaces that catch rain. So off come the glasses, stuffed hurriedly in the first available pocket at the next red light. But the problem is that still leaves four surfaces—the inside and outside of the windshield and the visor. Well, the windshield is cut so low that I don't really see through it much anyway. If I'm lucky, I can use some of the high-speed air spilling over its upper edge to sweep rain off the visor.

But unfortunately, I need to see straight ahead clearly and that means the visor must be almost completely open.

So here I am on the interstate in the cold rainy twilight, tiny little ice-cold bullets smacking me in the eyes again and again. No matter how hard I try, I can't both see the road ahead and keep the rain out of my eyes.

Once the droplets sting you, they roll around the back of your eyesocket behind your eyeball and drip down the course of your optic nerve until the very backmost part of your skull (you know, where your occipital lobes are stuck) is filled up with 40-degree water.

Fortunately, you are going fast; momentum and inertia and the wind-blast keeps the cold water pooled in the back of your skull. If it didn't, or if you were to slow down too quickly without first shaking your head to fling the cold water out your ears, you might drown when it sloshed down around your brainstem and shocked you into unconciousness.

Despite this needle-y torture, it is a pleasure to be on the road. The cold doesn't bother me; I am dressed for it. The dampness doesn't bother me—I'm not made of sugar and I know I don't have far to go. It's exhilarating and makes me look forward to the coming months.

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