Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Ice Is Not My Friend

I live in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and like most of the rest of the country we have recently experienced higher-than-average accumulations of winter on our roadways.

Thanks to our customary high temperatures and lack of precipitation, we also have a higher-than-average accumulation of people who think it’s a good idea to drive 45 miles an hour downhill on roads slicker than a greased senatorial candidate made of Teflon.

Then we have me. I looked out the window on Tuesday and cackled gleefully at the ice because a lot of the time I forget that I have responsibilities and act like I’m eight years old instead. Then I went out to my car to have funfunfunfunfunsnowsnowsnow! and drive to work.

Due to academic winter breaks and an average of one snowfall per year, this was really the first time I had experienced the combined circumstances of intensely bad roads and being responsible for getting myself somewhere important. Also, my car just finished recovering from an emotionally traumatic pre-Christmas fender-bender. Thus, after fishtailing three times while leaving my apartment complex, I called upon my 5th grade D.A.R.E. peer pressure resistance skills to make the drivers behind me deal with my dial-up-modem-speed descent of the one continuous hill to my office.

Once I got there, all I could think about was how petrified I was of having to drive again when I left. Any time I sat still, I felt the sensation of tires sliding on ice.

Amount of fear the situation warranted:

Amount of fear I experienced:

It got really bad around 3:00, when we realized that management would not be sending us home early before the roads froze over again. That’s when the cold sweats kicked in, and I started Googling winter driving safety tips.

These were not helpful.

Eventually the boss released us into only slightly deadly conditions. The drive was actually kind of a letdown for my over-excited limbic system, and I had to complain loudly about ice for the next hour to burn off the leftover adrenaline and panic.

The next morning, I planned to go in an hour late in case the improvement from -4 degrees to 7 degrees might soften some ice. I was psyching myself up for combat with the forces of terror when I received a phone call from one of the valiant souls who had already made it in to work: The office was closing.

Anyway, nobody ran into me and I didn’t slide into a ditch, my electricity is on, and I don’t live in the Midwest Blizzard Zone, so I guess the whole thing wasn’t a big deal. I did learn from the storm, though—specifically, that your glasses can freeze to your face.

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