Thursday, November 10, 2011

On Being Brave

This morning, I woke up to a winter wonderland. If you've been reading this blog long enough, you know that this didn't exactly make my day.

Okay, so normally, an inch or two of fresh snow outside the window doesn't bother me too much -- it is rather pretty -- but today's snowfall marked my first winter driving experience of this season. Considering that last winter's driving experiences ended abruptly with me on my side in the ditch, it's fair to say that I've been dreading this day. Add to that dread the fact that I'm still adjusting to the manual transmission Baja. How excited was I about the snowfall outside my window? Not very.

But I had a dentist appointment to get to. No amount of dread was going to make this better. I was going to have to be brave.

"The roads are okay," Andy said over the phone from work. "Just be careful. Use the gears to slow down."


I left the house with hour and forty five minutes to spare until my appointment. The trip to town normally takes an hour. When I pulled out onto the main highway, I realized Andy's assessment of "okay" might be a little exaggerated. OKAY?! I felt the hysteria rising my throat. The road hadn't even been plowed.

Nevertheless, our hero presses on . . .

A little ways down the road, after I'd waited at the bottom of a ginormous hill for a very minor accident involving a pickup and a truck and trail to clear out, it struck me: if police officers are just a step away from being criminals, maybe being brave is just a step away from bloody stupid.

On the other hand, I was learning some important lessons. It turned out driving a manual through the snow and slop wasn't so bad. The Corolla had handled like a hockey puck in snowy conditions; the Baja handled like a tank. "This is amazing," I thought. I shifted easy between the gears. I didn't have to touch the brake pedal at all. The car slowed by itself whenever I took my foot off the gas. I felt firmly glued to the slippery road. I giggled a little when I passed an (undamaged) Camry on its side in the ditch. I mean, who does that? (Don't answer that.)

However, by the time I was halfway down the Trail, it was apparent that I wasn't going to make my appointment.  Do you know how long it takes to get into town when you're averaging 28 mph and you've got 55 miles to chug away at that speed? (Okay, I could do the math, but that's never been my forte.) It takes a long time. Like two hours long.

I pulled into Andy's workplace, called the dentist's to reschedule, waited around long enough for the plow to pass me (I'd seen the plow coming up the Trail pretty early into my journey down the Trail, so I knew he must have made the dead end loop and was not far behind me), and kept on going. Chug, chug, chug.

I'll admit, I wasn't having the time of my life. Nor did I feel particularly brave. To be honest, I felt more boneheaded than brave. Driving through all this crap and still not making it to my appointment?  What was the point of that? This farce was nothing but a freakin' waste of time. Think of all the things I could be getting done if I'd just stayed home.

My mood changed considerably when I finally hit dry pavement. I'd just survived my first winter driving of winter 2011-2012. . . . to put it in Bridget Jones speak, feeling rather rockstar-ish.

However, the question's still hanging out there:

Brave or bloody stupid?

Still can't tell.

13 comments:

  1. It is MN, so it is brave. We had a few flakes in the Twin Cities, but thankfully not too much.

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  2. You are brave! I never drive in the snow. It rarely snows in southeast Texas and, when it does, those who choose to drive in it are bloody stupid!

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  3. o-o-o-o-h. I can so relate!! I have permanent knots in my neck from tension-driving over snow and ice packed roads. I still shake my head in amazement that I drove them in a school bus no less. what was I thinking? ( I was thinking June July August, the 3 best reasons for being a bus driver, obviously forgetting about the actual driving during winter months!) I would much rather stay home and sip hot chocolate and I would definitely use the icy road as the perfect excuse to get out of going to the dentist!!!

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  4. I know it's a bit silly, but I really love hearing about the Baja--as if I'm getting news about our dog. I'm glad to hear you're sounding l like a subaru convert! Nothing like that fantastic smug feeling.
    I think it's good to get out even when you end up missing the appointment--helps stave off how easy it is to be a shut-in on the trail.

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  5. BRAVE! I'm a total chicken when it comes to driving in snow...probably because I've from Georgia where it only snows once in a blue moon.

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  6. both? i hate driving in the snow, especially in a car i'm unfamiliar with-- i probably would have cancelled before i even got in the car! i'm so happy you didn't get hurt!

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  7. I can't even imagine driving in the snow.... so from my perspective you are insanely brave.

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  8. So glad you made it through and nothing happened!

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  9. I say brave because you HAD to go to the dental appt. I am scared to death of driving in the snow, which is why I live in an aread of California that never gets snow. I just won't drive in it, period. Too many previous bad experiences!

    So glad you are safe.

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  10. oh man, I know a minnesotan like me shouldn't be afraid of snow but... I'm fearing this years' first snow down here. Even though its November already and probably past due.

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  11. Great post, as always. Hoping you might come by and link to this my new Link Party which will be up late tonight. It's all about being grateful! And being brave is definitely something to be grateful for!

    Meredith From A Mother Seeking Come find me on my blog, A Mother Seeking...

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  12. meh. The first drive always sucks, no matter where you live and you ALWAYS end up late to where you're going, no matter how much time you leave. Snow can be ridiculous. Hopefully you don't have to wait too long for the new appointment.

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