How awesome is Patchen Road?
True, the South Burlington constables ticket speeders all day long along this stretch of road. (To paraphrase Nancy Reagan: just slow down.)
Never mind the speed traps - Patchen Road is the mother of all shortcuts. It will take you from Gracey's Corner on Williston Road, over the Interstate, onto Burlington's Grove Street, and thence onto Chase, Barrett and over the Winooski Bridge or the hook-up with Riverside Avenue. All hail Patchen Road!
Last week, amidst rush hour, I employ this road. After taking the left from Grove onto Chase, in front of me I see a long line of cars backed up on Barrett. No problem-o, thinks your trusty cabbie, and I yank a right into the back entrance to the Chace Mill. The Chace Mill, you see, puts you on Mill Street just before the bridge, with never a traffic back-up. How savvy am I? I offer myself this congratulation.
Immediately, I find myself sliding down an iced-over driveway into the backyard of an abandoned house. I had missed the Chace Mill cut-through, it seems, but one or two driveways. As I drift sideways to a stop in front of a long battered garage, I'm filled with a sick sinking feeling. My intuition says, you are not getting out of here on your own power. I know this is true because I've been doing this for one thousand years and I can see that the driveway is steep and entirely coated with thick ice.
And, if it hasn't already, here's where my stupidity kicks into high gear. I proceed to waste a full half-hour in a futile effort to storm the driveway. I half wish somebody had video'ed me, because it probably looked like a Buster Keaton film. I rev and rev and charge forward - at best, 25% of the way up - before the wheels begin spinning and I slide back down. After the 17th attempt, you would think I'd throw in the towel, but, by that point, any shred of rational thinking had evaporated; I was on automatic, a rat in a cheese-less maze.
So, I finally call Spillane's and the tow truck driver arrives promptly. He is a big tough guy and I can see that he fully appreciates the doofus-like quality of my predicament. He doesn't want to risk getting likewise stuck, so, remaining at the top of the driveway, he hooks me up with a long cable and slowly winches me out.
The charge was $75, and I throw him an extra five for a latte el grande.