As part of my #nerdlution, here is a Slice of Life post. Click on the picture to read more slices of everyday life!
I left for school early this morning. I’m a night owl, and getting up before eleven am continues to be a struggle for me. (Don’t judge–I can stay up with the best of them.) Usually my mornings are filled with the snooze button before I get out of bed (it’s three alarms at LEAST for me), and dilly-dallying after (have I checked Pinterest? Maybe some outfit inspiration will be found there). But this morning I left early, because I knew I had to make copies for my husband, who was attending professional development out of district.
It was supposed to snow, but not until eight o’clock, so I paid the forecast no mind. I hate driving in the snow. A late driving bloomer (I didn’t get my license until I was 22, and even then it was only after an ultimatum from my otherwise very understanding husband), I don’t have as much experience driving in inclement weather as other people my age. In years past, my husband has driven to school when the forecast looks bad (yet another perk of working together). But today he was headed to Monroe, so I was on my own.
But I didn’t think I had anything to worry about. I was leaving at 7:15, and the snow wouldn’t be coming for another forty five minutes. I wasn’t even wearing a hat!
As soon as I stepped outside, I saw the flakes. But there was nothing on the ground, so I knew I’d be fine. I got to my car and turned on the defroster. I listened to a radio interview with Patti LuPone and put on lipgloss while I let the morning ice melt away, still unconcerned about the weather.
I put my wipers on as I pulled out of my parking spot. There was just enough snow to make my windshield drip, but surely it wouldn’t stick in the five mile, fifteen minute drive to work. Surely I’d be fine.
I had no sooner pulled into traffic when I realized I was wrong. I increased the speed of the wipers. No big deal. I was still convinced the weather wouldn’t impede my journey.
There is a two mile stretch of drive between leaving my block and my first turn. Usually I have to stop a million times–there are four lights before my first right, and one school which always seems to create a stoppage. But today I didn’t stop at all. Which was good, because by the time I reached my turn, two miles and seven minutes later, I found I could not stop. I reached the T intersection (I was at the “top” of the T), and the light turned red. I pulled into the turning lane, ready to slow to a stop. But I couldn’t. The road had gotten so snowy so quickly that as I pumped the brakes at the red light all I felt was the frantic fumbling of breaks that could not catch.
The steering wheel began to shake and, despite my father’s only rule, I panicked. (My father’s only rule as a child was Don’t panic. Well, that and don’t play with Daddy’s glasses. But it’s the only rule that still counts.) I frantically tried to remember the driver’s manual I barely read. Did I turn into a skid? Out of it? Did I try to brake? Let the car go? My mind was blank and I turned into the turn, hoping my momentum would swing me around the corner instead of into the intersection.
I’m not sure if I closed my eyes. I want to say I didn’t, but I’m pretty certain that I did. Hesitantly I swung around the curve. It was a wide curve, but I made it. I took a deep breath and lowered the radio. Patti LuPone is good for a lot of situations, but panicky snowy driving is not one of them. The second street I drove down was covered with at least half an inch of snow. (OK, this may be an exaggeration. But it was a lot of snow.) The third street I turned onto, hesitantly, slowly, was covered with even more.
In the oncoming lane, I saw a school bus slow to a stop. Its red stop sign began to emerge and I tentatively tapped the brake. I could feel the brakes begin to sputter, the wheel begin to wobble. I knew that if I continued to try to brake I would probably lose control, risking hitting the bus or worse a child.
So I broke the law this morning and kept driving, even as the bus extended its stop sign fully. I held my breath, waiting for the siren and lights to stop me, but I heard nothing but Patti LuPone.
I made it to school unscathed, almost forty minutes after I left my house, a far cry from my usual fifteen minute commute. Of course the building was chaotic–multiple teachers would be late, some wouldn’t be in at all. But I’ve never been so glad to be there.
By the time I left school, the snow had stopped and the roads were cleared. What had seemed like blizzard conditions in the morning seemed like nothing but flurries this afternoon. It’s supposed to get icy tonight, and I’m not looking forward to tomorrow’s drive. But it couldn’t be worse than this morning’s seemingly innocuous drive, which turned into my first foray into law-breaking. I’m sorry, Officer. I couldn’t stop myself.