Pushing Thirty

and shedding pretentions

Snow Night

Everybody thinks their world is flat until it snows. Take, for instance, my Kansas City milieu. I’d hardly noticed for months that my universe in a 5 mile driving radius floats upon a green sea of gently rolling hills. Driving, in my perception, was an exclusively lateral affair. But yesterday it snowed.

Driving in the snow is no big deal, at least not when it only snows an inch or two. The ice is the real danger. At seven this evening, the roads glazed over something fierce, and every pitch was harrowing.

Like the one that spun me around at 8 o’clock. It seemed to me only a mild slope to the intersection with the stop light. But the ice made it treacherous and steep, even driving slow. My rear slid out from under me. I turned into the skid. I pumped my brakes. Regardless, I ended up sideways and drifted into the nearby curb with a thud. I felt like a daredevil in a bumper car. I threw her in reverse and backed into a on through the intersection. The other cars just squinted through the snow blind, and I blinked my lights because it was the closest thing to a bow I could execute from an automobile. Ta-Daa, I had spun 360 degrees, in the ice, and had not damaged my vehicle or anyone else’s, and we’re all so relieved, and now I’m on my way home, a daredevil on ice, doing stunts on a hill none of us would have even noticed last week.

I heard a rumor once that Harold “the Duck” Travis once lost control on a highway covered in snow while he was driving 50 mph or so. He was in the middle of saying something to his passenger when it happened, but didn’t stopped talking. While he chatted, he put his car in neutral, cut the wheels towards the skid and pulled the emergency brake. The car sharply turned to face on coming traffic. Still chatting, Harold put his car in reverse, gave a little gas, put it back in neutral, and then initiated another skid by sharply turning the wheel and again engaging the emergency brake. The car turned right back around. He explained to his passenger that it is pretty easy to turn a car half-way, and he’d done it many times before.

I thought later that I should have done that. Maybe the cars would have blinked their lights back if I had done that instead of running into the curb.


December 10, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

1 Comment »

  1. What blows my mind is that someone actually found my blog by doing a search for “Harold the duck Travis.”

    who might that be?

    Comment by bretmavrich | December 20, 2008 | Reply

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