Monday, October 8, 2007

Shades of gray

It’s not winter, so it couldn’t have been a whiteout. It was daytime, so it obviously wasn’t a blackout.

I’m not sure if the term “grayout” has a definition that refers to driving, but if it doesn’t, I’m about to give it one.

We’ve all driven in the rain and through the mist churned up by other vehicles on the highways.

But the best way to describe my trip to work on Monday is by using the term “grayout.”

It was 7:15 a.m. and quite dim. The weather was overcast, misty and raining at times, but there was no fog per se.

All of a sudden, the conditions blended everything together in a dull gray. The sky, mist, rain and roadway became one massive gray blob no matter which way I looked.

I let off the accelerator and after a few seconds, I began to make out the welcoming glow of taillights up ahead.

People around me, oblivious to the adverse conditions, continued to drive at a hurried pace, pass on the right, and brake needlessly.

I passed a crash site a few miles later and wondered if it was caused by a “grayout” – either the same type I experienced, or the “grayout” defined on as “a transient dimming or haziness of vision resulting from temporary impairment of cerebral circulation.”

Could have been either.