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Jan 07

Driving in the Snow

I’m old.

That’s the best explanation I can come up with.  I’ve turned into one of those little old ladies who’s afraid to drive when there’s snow coming down.

I scorned these women, in my not-so-distant-youth.  These wimps, these babies.  These hyper-afraid, making themselves weak women who insisted that they didn’t drive in the snow.  I vowed to never do that.   I would be tough.  Strong.  I would embrace living in New England, it snows, and that’s a part of life.

Then I moved to Worcester.

It took the better part of a decade to wear me down, but I’m officially throwing in the towel.  For the past four years, I’ve lived on two hills, and I’m terrified of driving down them when it snows.  Driving up them doesn’t scare me as much – I think gravity is on my side then.  But driving down them… nope, can’t do it.   Last year, I slid into a snowbank, and got the car stuck on the way to drop the kids at school.  I cracked the poor front bumper on the car, and while it didn’t affect the driving – it did make my car look stupid.   And now, that I’m driving a borrowed car – I’m that much more skittish about it.

I could burrow in, and simply refuse to drive, except that I’ve got three kids, and a husband, and two stepkids.  And commitments and obligations and dammit – they really can’t walk home in this.  So I brave the elements, shutting off the radio, and demanding that they speak only in soft tones and with utter and complete kindness in the car (as opposed to the normal snapping, screaming, sarcasm and hollering disaster that our rides can deteriorate into).  I try to look relaxed and calm, not tense and terrified.  Because the second my kids realize how much I really really am afraid that I’m going to slide right out into traffic – they’ll ramp up their own anxiety and then we’ll have a whole car full of fear.

So I’m out there, driving around.  Going miles out of my way to stay on flat ground and well traveled surfaces.  White-knuckled and going as slow as I can get away with – because I’ve learned the hard way that stepping on the brakes when the road is icy is hit or miss (literally).  And praying for springtime to come – because I love driving in the spring, when my only concern is that my hand starts to hurt from high-fiving the kids every time we see a forsythia bush.


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