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Archive for December 15th, 2009

Walkin’ in a Winter…

Posted by Dirck on 15 December, 2009

…hellscape. Actually, that’s overstating it. Yesterday’s weather was quite endurable, given the lack of wind, and the fact that the cloudless sky allowed me considerable ensolation (I wear a black coat in the winter not to look cool, but to stay warm). I don’t think it was below -27C for my march, either, which is not too terrible for the local winters.

I’ve mentioned previously, I think, that I regularly walk on my lunch-break at The Regular Job, but yesterday’s great march was something else again. I walked about a kilometer (something around 2/3 of a mile for the non-metric, but if I do that I have to offer roughly 4 international furlongs, 5 British cables, and slightly less than half a Celtic league, just to feel I’ve included enough archaic measurments).

I did this not to prove the sterling qualities of my winter-wear, nor to get ahold of a particularly nice pen, but to collect my car from the garage where it had been towed. It was towed because it would not start. It would not start because it had no block heater, a situation the garage addressed for me.

To those who are lucky enough to live nearer a tropic line, I’ll explain the item in question. We high-latitude types have small electric heaters stuck into the oil sump of our vehicles, which renders it much easier to start them on mornings when some portions of the atmosphere itself have turned to slush. It happened that the car I bought this past summer had managed under its previous owner to never get one fitted– I assume that they fled equatorwards after the autumnal equinox each year.

If I have a problem with the situation (and I admit that there is some ire bubbling away in my bowels), it is not with the negligent previous owners– I could, after all, have looked rather than assumed any time in the past four months. My problem is with the maker of the vehicle.

My problem is thus: my previous vehicles, three over the past fifteen years, have been of diverse Japanese makes. I last had an American car about the time Marxist-Leninism collapsed as a system of government. In that span, I have frequently forgotten to plug in my block heater when it would have been a very good idea to do so. The most recent vehicle actually shed the end of its cord in 2007, and I never quite got around to replacing it. Every time this situation occurred, it was a little difficult to start the car, but until this past Sunday it has never been impossible.

Japan, as far as I recall from my visit there in the mid-’90s, is not a notably polar nation, and their cars might theoretically be made with an eye to the handy Pacific Rim market. American cars are made in a place which purports to know winter well (I’ve never been to Michigan, so I must accept reports). That the former are more reliable in cold weather than the latter seems an inversion. My experience in this is anecdotal rather than scientific, of course, but I cannot trust a US built car. I’ve never been made to walk on account of bad weather by anything else.

I should say that my mood is not so dark as a long walk on a cold day might make it. I’ve just sold a pen to someone whose reasons for buying it warm my innards (which I’ll not reveal until after Christmas, just to avoid ruining the surprise through operation of Kevin Bacon principles), and the Christmas shopping is effectively done (I lack several dozen eggs and a short ton of butter for baking, and that’s it).

Today’s pen: Parker Duofold
Today’s ink: Herbin’s Vert Empire

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