I drove down Killingsworth on Sunday afternoon, during the height of Winter Blast Y2K8™. It was treacherous. Truly. Cars were running off the road left and right. One car pulled out in front of me quickly and I nearly couldn't stop in time. Avalanches tumbled down the sides of the road. Polar bears pawed at the side of my car. Snow goblins tried to steal my Christmas spirit.
East Coasters and Midwesterners have been scoffing at Portlanders' overreactions to the tiny dribble of snow we've received here. Driving skills have been a particular subject of scorn. But what these intrepid snow-experts ("snexperts"?) forget to mention is that in other parts of the country, they lay down sand and salt on the roads. Portland doesn't. So the snow that falls, miniscule amount though it may be, ends up getting blown, compressed, and frozen, turning into a sheet of ice on the road that is entirely car-unfriendly. I'm from New England; I learned to drive there. I know how to handle cold weather, and I know how to drive in snow. But without any salt or sand on the roads, my Sunday jaunt down ol' Killingsweee Lane was a bit of a hair-raiser.
On that note, here is an excellent song from Cory Gray's Carcrashlander, from the similarly excellent Mountains on Our Backs album. It's not about the danger and excitement of driving down an icy Killingsworth Ave; rather, between meditative verses come blasts of guitar and electric piano, skidding and careening around with equal parts control and abandon.
Carcrashlander: "Killingsworth Frost"