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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Chionophobia


I get it, I get it.

I live in Wisconsin. It snows here.

I should be used to it.

But I have to confess, ever since I wrecked my car a few weeks ago, I have developed a kind of fear of snow. Maybe fear isn’t the right word. Dread might be better.

It doesn’t help that just a few days ago I got my car back from the shop, and it looks and feels as good as new. I’m just not sure I trust it anymore.

Last night, as I made my way home, it was snowin’ like a banshee, as they say around these parts. (What is a banshee, by the way, and do they precipitate?) I found myself crawling through the streets, unwilling to build up much momentum, for fear that I would lose control of the car if I had to break suddenly. In fact, on a few longer stretches of car-free roads, I did decide to break hard, and was dismayed to find that my anti-lock breaks engaged every time and caused the car to move forward a car-length or two longer than intended. Maybe this is just the way they are supposed to work. Maybe the Geo would have simply spun out. I don’t know. This is not a video game, and I can’t just press reset if I end up attached to a tree trunk.

And yet, with all the nastiness falling from the sky and the mess on the ground, I still saw folks sailing past me, obliviously chatting on their cell phones as they cruised along into almost certain catastrophe.

I'm not trying to turn into an old man here, but I have been humbled.

Enough with the snow, already!

15 comments:

cruisin-mom said...

Here in L.A. we have the rain...makes all the drivers nutsy. I understand how you feel P.T.

Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

banshee < Irish [Gaelic] bean sídhe (b(y)an-shee), "woman of the fairies", a kind of wailing ghost.

Shira Salamone said...

Why don't you move back to NYC? It's a balmy 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius?) today, and we have yet to get a serious snowfall. :) (Okay, okay, I'll behave.) Actually, when the weather is like this in winter, I always say that it'll probably snow on the day of the first seder. That actually happened a few years ago.

MAK said...

The saying is really "screaming like a banshee" and you have no idea how glad i am that I live in sunny, non-snowy south florida.

Baila said...

It's all part of the aging process. You used to speed by carelessly in the snow, until...then you wake up one day and realize that you hate (and fear, dread whatever) snow and are also listening to talk radio in the car.

Do you have hair growing out of your ears? Time to check those retirement funds :)

PsychoToddler said...

Maybe I do, and maybe I don't

RaggedyMom said...

That is scary. Did any of your kids ever make those t'filat haderech rearview mirror hangy ornaments in school? Aside from the fact that they are a possible visibility obstruction, those things always feel like good omens.

Ayelet said...

Brake, not break. (Sorry, I can't help it. It's like some sort of disease or something that I have.)

orieyenta said...

Time for you guys to move to Florida. That snow is exactly why PHD moved here from Chicagoand it is exactly why I have always lived in Florida.

(Of course we're having a cold snap today and it's in the lower 70's and we have the heat on.)

muse said...

We don't get all that much snow, but I was in an accident last winter:
http://me-ander.blogspot.com/2007/03/driving-in-snow-itll-never-be-same.html

Baal Devarim said...

Anti-lock brakes can't be beaten on slick ice; however, it WILL extend (by a bit) your stopping distance on fluffy snow (and sand). Regular brakes will lock up and the tires will dig themselves deep into the snow, like a tired old geezer trying to shovel wet slush. But anti-lock breaks will prevent the lock-up, and your car will FLOAT on top of the snow.

But the trade off is worth it, if you know how to take advantage of it! The point of anti-lock brakes is that it prevents the skid and ALWAYS leaves you with the ability to steer (you know, that thing the steering wheel is named after). So if you have anti-lock brakes and need to make an emergency stop, *always* slam your brakes (never pump!) as far as they would go and STEER away from the obstruction. Of course, if you have a car in front of you, a tree on one side and a cute puppy on the other, you might be in a bit of a jam.

(Well, not really; a puppy hardly does any damage to a car.)

PsychoToddler said...

I agree, the puppy would be my first choice.

The truth is that I need to train myself for the next time, because in emergencies we all act on reflex, not with considered thought.

Wickwire said...

Haha, not laughing at your sich-ee-ay-shun. My sister's co-workers call her "Snow" in the winter for the same reasons. She wrecked her car when we lived in the mountains where it snowed to our knees almost every winter. Ever since, she WILL NOT drive in the snow. We'll be at work happy as a lark and someone will call saying, "Tell Snow to look outside." (very lightly snowing) Then she goes from happy to freaked out! Sorry to hear about your accident. Wrote to tell you the CD goes out tomorrow for sure.

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Rachel :) said...

I also have a horrible DREAD of snow. I never used to be until (you guessed it) a car accident. i know rationally speaking it was not my fault, nor was the snow to blame, but there is something about getting t-boned @ 65 that tends to leave you a little traumatized. I am HIGHLY convienced that I have PTSD (and 5 years later... it is still not resolved) GOOD LUCK!!!