If you’ve read “Ski Trip or Comedy of Errors?” you might get the impression I’m not a cold weather sports person. I’ve always lived in the South, and even though we get snow and ice from time to time, it’s never enough to encourage winter activities. But the cold weather we’ve been having, even in the South, along with the prediction of a ton of snow, reminds me of my senior year in college. The fountain near my dorm froze and a few people ice skated on it, then the school closed down for two weeks because of heating problems. (I’ll admit, it was difficult for me to get back into studying after that.)
The first real opportunity I had to ice skate was when I visited Gatlinburg, Tennessee with a group from college. We rose above mountains in a giant cable car, awed by the panoramic views of snow-capped peaks. When we reached a pinnacle and disembarked, the icy air soon hurt my hands more than any cold ever had, even though I wore gloves. I retreated to a barely-heated building nearby to get some relief. It might be the only time I’ve come close to frostbite.
I wanted to ski, but it was expensive, so I settled for ice skating. Unfortunately, the skates I received at the rink had been rented too many times, and they looked like they’d been bent back and forth at at the ankles at least a thousand times, making it impossible for me to skate, even though I’d recently taken a class in roller skating. A friend, who’d obviously received much better skates than I did, helped me to hobble around the rink, but I finally had to give up. (I should have asked for different skates, but I was a shy student.)
Years later I tried ice skating again, but I didn’t have the confidence I did earlier, plus the frigid air in the rinks bothered me, since I’m cold natured. It’s my guess that most skaters who stick with it are not that way. So while I enjoy snow and the idea of ice skating and watching others skate, I’ll probably always be a person who stays on solid ground. (Unless I’m swimming. But that’s another story.)
On a more recent note, traffic that’s backed up because of snow reminds me so much of a year when my husband and I lived in Raleigh, N.C. We drove about fifteen minutes to lunch that day, and just as we pulled into the parking lot of the restaurant, a few light flurries started to fall. We were somewhat accustomed to driving in the snow, so we didn’t worry about it, and we continued into the building which has no windows in the dining room.
When we finished eating, Rick decided it would be the perfect time to get a Cappuccino. I was ready to go, but I waited patiently, with no idea that every snowflake had “stuck,” and the precipitation had really picked up. We returned to our car to discover that the roads were getting slick and traffic was getting thicker. We probably would’ve been fine if some people hadn’t panicked, driving about five miles per hour, and if all the schools and workplaces hadn’t let out at noon. There was way too much congestion on the roads, and our return trip was forty-five minutes instead of fifteen.
When we finally arrived home and checked the news, we learned that the highways were packed, and even when we went to bed, some cars were still on the road. We felt sorry for those who had to spend the night in their cars or at work or at school. And all for about one inch of snow! But it wasn’t the snow as much as it was the fact that so many were on the road at the same time, and that some were so careful on the roads that it actually caused problems. So while no one needs to be careless when there are icy conditions, we also need to try not to go too far in the other direction.