Monday, January 21, 2013

Oh, Morning

Driving down the highway on an icy morning (last Friday, in fact), most of the cars had a good inch or so of ice-snow-ice sandwich. This particular combination can be nasty to scrape off (one must first break through the crust of ice to brush away the snow to reveal and scrape off the layer of ice underneath the snow), so most cars had only the essentials cleared: the windows and mirrors. Being in the South, where I know black ice is more likely than real snow and yet drivers focus on the deceptively snow-free roads, and it being early enough that while the sun touched the roofs of cars it still left the roads in frigid shadow, I ran a little below the speed limit, giving extra room to other drivers as I could.

The sun was out and merry, tickling the compacted mess on the tops and rears of cars. Cars that, thanks to running, were also warming from the inside.

The end result was the occasional spontaneous upward flinging off ice, as if cars were celebrating the first real winter weather of the season and throwing handfuls of confetti into air. It was invigorating, cheerful, and mildly amusing. Quite pretty, too, with pristine white flakes getting tossed up and twirling through the sky.

Then one of those chunks hit my windshield, producing a bell-curve shaped crack running from one end to the other.

The confetti became much less amusing.

Traffic promptly afterward slowed to a crawl, and for two miles tip-toed forward. Finally I passed the reason for the crowd's creeping hush: an overturned car, blackened, still smoking, swarmed by emergency workers. I can only hope the driver got out in time.

A cracked window isn't pleasant. I'll take it anyway, and say thanks. And hope for no more winter confetti.

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