Quite a few of the roads around Microsoft were sheets of ice around six PM tonight (my wife left work, moved about a hundred yards in half an hour, then simply re-parked in another garage and went back to her office). It’s one of the clearest examples of the fact that high-average ability in a group doesn’t necessarily help in a crunch situation. It doesn’t matter that nine-tenths of the folks on the road are dealing fine with the conditions — driving slowly, watching out for icy spots, staying out of intersections, braking carefully — it’s the ten percent who have no idea what they are doing that makes the mess. It doesn’t take much to foul up something that is marginal.
It was like Martians landed, found these funny four-wheeled things, and decided to take them out for a spin.
“Damn, Zodnok, what is that white stuff?”
“Ezz sllllipppparrrry! Whatch az I agzellerate and turn this wheel thing. Wheeee!”
“You forgot to call someone on your cell phone. I think you have to do that, too.”
“ello? ‘ello? Torlik! Iz Zodnok, am driving! Yez, zeez wheels are turning around az fazzzzt az I can mik them go, yet vee are ztill going sideways!”
I am looking forward to the sequel tomorrow morning, when the Martian drivers encounter black ice.
“Iz black vhat? Ice?”
“Yeah, pretty much.”
“Pool anudder one, hey?”
“No really. You hit this stuff, you can’t see it, and you’re a goner.”
“Me theenk you lyring. Zodnok drive into work, zoom down 40th as usual, and even wit diz ‘black eyes’ theenks can just skeeeeeeed right into usual parking spot.” (eyetwitch)
I do hope the motorcyclist I saw leaving work amidst pea-size pellets of frozen rain made it home all right.