Yanni On Ice

Proustian triggers: those hot red things in chinese food, ice storms, Yanni

This story took place in the early '90s, in upstate New York, sometime in early winter. My friend Steve and I went to lunch one Saturday at a Chinese restaurant halfway between Albany and Schenectady. The restaurant was in a strip mall off the big commercial drag.

The food was not memorable. Steve likes things hot, and got something with those devilishly hot little red pepper-things. I think it was then that I tried tasting one. Yow. Yow. HotHotHot!

We talked over lunch, and were probably there for at least an hour. When we left, we noticed that the parking lot had been covered in freezing rain. It must have started just after we entered the restaurant, since the entire area was really iced. It was the most severe one-hour ice storm I've ever seen. The roads were really dangerous.

We tried to figure out what to do. Steve had picked me up, so we only had one vehicle. It was about equal distance to Steve's house and my apartment, and it seemed to really tempt fate to triple the distance by dropping me off at home. We elected to head for Steve's house.

The roads were horrible. People were slipping everywhere - we were slipping - and within a few hundred feet we decided to wait until the road was sanded before preceding. Steve pulled off into the parking lot of a furniture store, and we waited.

The truck was facing the road, so we spent the next hour or so watching cars slide down the inclined road. I vividly recall watching one vehicle slowly sliding down the hill, against the curb, the front wheels jammed all the way to the right. It was enough to slow it down, but not to stop it.

I was horrified, worried about accidents. Steve, on the other hand, was watching all this and laughing hysterically.

Throughout this, the truck's tape player was playing Yanni, over and over.

The roads were finally sanded a few times, and we headed over to Steve's house. It took well over an hour to make the half hour drive. We had to go the long way, since the long hill on the short route was impassable.

And Yanni played on and on.

The ice was gone by the next morning, and I finally made it home.

Ever since that icy day, I've hated Yanni. It's not just his aimless, completely bland and inoffensive offense against art and intelligence; it brings back the sound of Steve's laughter as people drove to their doom.

Last updated 3 June 2000
All contents ©1999-2002 Mark L. Irons