Withering Glance: The winter of our pothole discontent

  • Article by: RICK NELSON and CLAUDE PECK , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 13, 2010 - 2:54 PM

This winter's bumper crop of potholes is doing a number on my car's suspension.

Rick Nelson and Claude Peck dispense unasked-for advice about clothing, etiquette, culture, relationships, grooming and more.

RN: This winter's bumper crop of potholes is doing a number on my car's suspension. Yesterday I drove through one so deep and so wide that I later learned that the Vikings are looking at it as a new stadium site.

CP: There you go. On again about your favorite topic: infrastructure. People may think you're shallow.

RN: And by "people" you mean "everyone I've ever met in my entire life," don't you?

CP: But they don't know the urbanist and policy wonk that I do. I'm surprised you have never run for the Board of Estimate and Taxation.

RN: I would have, but my checkered past would never pass muster with the electorate. Seriously, aren't you worried about snapping an axle on that pretty new car of yours?

CP: What, me worry? I just crank the new Hot Chip CD and forget all my troubles. So what if the street is more tattered and torn than a Johnny Weir skating costume?

RN: The mean streets of downtown Minneapolis seem particularly rutted. The other day I hit a blocks-long patch so corduroy-ed out that, had I recorded the racket it was making inside my poor Saturn's wheel wells, percussive choreographer Joe Chvala could have used it as the score for his next dance.

CP: I was racing down 8th Street in Minneapolis the other night when I disappeared into a pothole near the TCF building. That sucker was so vast that it could accommodate the gulf between Sen. John McCain's polar opposite stands on the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.

RN: Heh. The plus side to encountering a freshly rooted pothole is that all that gravel yanked from the roadbed is good for traction.

CP: Tell that to the three Smart cars that went into a hole on Lyndale near Franklin on Saturday afternoon. Luckily, they sort of evened out the top of it, and I was able to drive right over them and make it into the Wedge's parking lot without killing myself or any pedestrians. Good thing, too, as I got the last few organic kohlrabis.

RN: I was on I-94 the other day when I barely avoided a pothole so big it rivaled the size of John Edwards' ego. I was going to call the highway department and report it, but I figured that the state agency is so strapped for cash that it probably can't afford to maintain a telephone.

CP: There are more gaps in the streets than there are Democrats in the governor's race. Is there any way they'll get them patched before next winter? This sounds fantastical, but I recently went into a pothole in the "Crosstown Triangle" and landed in Afghanistan. One thing I noticed right away was that the roads there were slightly better.

E-mail: witheringglance@startribune.com.

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Coming Tuesday in Variety: Read some pothole haiku and submit your own.

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