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Slip Sliding Away

I was in the coffee shop Tuesday when it started to snow.  We looked out the window and ohhed and ahhed, then went back to sipping our beverages and chatting.  I love the coffee shop because it is designed like a living room and everyone chats with everyone.  After awhile one of the regulars disturbed our joy and laughter by pointing out that the snow was falling rather thick and fast.

As one we turned to the window and ohhed and ahhed again, but this time in gasps instead of sighs. Cups were emptied, newspapers were folded and the place cleared out.  I said to Mona, “You know, I haven’t driven in snow in 14 years.  I don’t remember it being a horrid, big deal, but with the locals acting like this, I think I’d better go on home myself.”

The coffee shop sits on an incline.  No sooner had I stood up and donned my coat, then an SUV slid down the hill sideways.   That convinced Mona that she needed to close the coffee shop and go home herself.  That’s when I suggested we both visit the supermarket in case we were going to be snowed in for awhile.  Mona agreed and we tidied the store quick fast.  Just as we were locking the doors the sanding truck went by, which made me feel much better.

I was parked in front of the store, which means I had to start driving mid-incline.  I did so very cautiously — and was pleasantly surprised to find I had no trouble whatsoever.   I had to make a left-hand turn at the top of the hill and thanks to the sand I did so easily.   Mona pulled out of the store parking lot and followed me.

The corner at the top of the hill was a three way stop.  After we cleared it, a big Silverado was between Mona and I so I couldn’t see her anymore.  The corner at Guard and Blair was slick.  For a few seconds I thought I was staying there, but I applied the gas slowly and managed to catch enough traction to roll off the slick spot.  The corner at Blair and Park was just as bad.  I knew Mona was still behind me because I saw her rear-end fishtail in the intersection.

Spring Street and Blair gets so much traffic it was bare pavement.  I used that bit of reprieve to take a deep breath.   I’m glad I didn’t relax though.  The Silverado made a right turn and Mona was once again behind me.  In fact, just for the briefest moment at the corner of Market Place and Blair I thought Mona was going to end up in my trunk.   That’s when I learned that my reflexes are still good and despite not using my winter driving skills in years, they still function.

The entire intersection at Market Place and Blair was ice.  I was going less than 10 miles an hour and the back end of my car started to fishtail.  I glanced in my rear view mirror and saw Mona having the same trouble.  I needed to get my car under control and get out of her way, but my tires had no traction. I also needed to make a right hand turn but didn’t see how that was going to happen, either.

I decided it was time to stop driving on the ice trail and make my own path. I don’t drive an SUV, but it was only a few inches of snow.  I let my car slide into the parking lane (there were no parked cars on the street) then I simply drove away through the fresh snow.  Mona followed me.

We got our groceries and then went our separate ways, Mona to her home and me to mine.  We both made it without incident.  Even so, Mona is thinking of trading her island beater car in on an Outlander.  She says she’s ready for some muscle in her car.  And I’m looking at finding an SUV that Amoeba will approve environmentally.   Not that I am holding out much hope for getting a new car.  Amoeba’s solution for beating the horrid driving conditions was to walk to and from work this week.


  1. I’m glad I live where we don’t get much snow — I don’t think I could take walking in it with my balance issues, much less driving in it very often. But I have wondered, with some of the steeply inclined driveways here, how people ever get in and out when it is icy or snowy.

  2. My mom sent me a youtube link of cars, trucks, and buses slip-sliding away on Capital Hill in Seattle. It didn’t matter much if they were 4WD or not — the conditions were that bad. It was rather entertaining to watch a Metro bus do a 180-degree turn in slow-motion (of course, no one was hurt).

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