Maybe I Shouldn’t Drive in the Winter

Cars and snow are a bad mix for me. One year I hit a patch of ice on the highway and went snow surfing in the median. In hindsight it was a thrilling ride, but it really wasn’t worth the repair costs.

I’ve had trouble in our own driveway. Coming home from work one snowy night I saw that we had about a foot of snow on our gravel drive. I wanted to eat before I shoveled, so I hit the garage remote and gunned it. In my mind, my little Saturn coupe plowed gracefully through the accumulated snow and settled neatly inside the garage. In reality the poor thing wound up beached on a 3′ drift only a few feet from safety. After shaking my fist at God proved ineffective, I dug my damn car out so I could finish pulling in.

Apropos of nothing, we now have a plow service.

Last Saturday I stuck Wendi’s station wagon in the icy bank of snow alongside our driveway. Our friend George was over, and I’d been trying to back out around his car to go pick up our dinner. The good news is that his car was never in any danger, although it was conscripted for dinner-fetching duties.

The station wagon was caught between two icy bumps, such that the wheels couldn’t get traction. I put it in neutral, and George and I rocked the beast forward until it was clear. Then I put it back in gear and pulled forward to get good and clear.

That makes it sound easy, and it did only take about five minutes. The complicating factor is that the hardest work to which I’m accustomed is hoisting my butt off the couch. By the time the wagon was clear, my heart was attempting to leap straight through my sternum. My arms hung uselessly at my side, and I felt nauseous.

“This is a stupid way to die,” I thought.

I resolved that I would start exercising, but maybe a 4′ towing fee wouldn’t be unreasonable…


Giant Bug Crossing

Last night while driving home, I was startled by a massive bug hitting my windshield. Not as startled as the bug had been, but for substantially longer. Also, my guts weren’t spread across my field of vision.

Which brings me, somewhat grossly, to my point. This thing was huge! (Those with delicate stomaches may wish to skip to the next paragraph. I swear I’ll keep the upsetting stuff to the rest of this paragraph. Okay, that’s probably not true; I know where I’m heading, and if you find bug juice disturbing you should just give up on this entry now. Sorry about that.) At least two inches of bug tail was stuck to the glass, flapping in front of my face. The long trail of goo lead to the unidentifiable remains of what may have once been a head. Everything else was gone, including the wings I assume had brought it into striking range.

My guess is that it was a dragonfly, around three inches long. I thought of the opening of “Men in Black” and then instantly veered into half-remembered facts about giant insects from back when whatever allowed insects to be giant was going on.

Driving in the Carboniferous period would’ve been an unending horror show. A single cave-dragonfly with a two foot wingspan could leave you driving blind. And throwing up.