It seems like every Monday is a bad weather day. Schools are closed. Businesses delayed.
Even if I have no specific plans, I don’t like being forcefully incarcerated by the weather. I get grumpy.
When I was young, schools rarely closed because of weather. I was bused. It wasn’t a big deal except the buses were later because the drivers put chains on the tires before starting out. Remember when we put chains on tires for traction?
My mother would tell me how lucky I was. She went to school before busing. She had to walk over a mile to get to school and it was all rural roads without sidewalks and nearby houses. Back in those days winter clothes weighed 20 pounds! No Polar Tec!
She always told me the story about the time the snow had gotten so deep during the school day. On the way home she was cold and tired and fell into a snow bank. She couldn’t get up. She was quite a distance from home. Fortunately, her mother had seen her from the back window and sent help out to get her.
That story, whether true or embellished, served her for my entire school career. I was truly grateful that I didn’t have to walk great distances in bad weather.
Then I went to work where I had to drive in any kind of weather to get to work. I slid into snowbanks. Spun around in circles. Fell on the pavement. Spent an hour chiseling ice off my windshield. Except for a multi-car collision, everything that could, happened during my many years of commuting.
None of my stories have the same impact my mother’s story did. Maybe it’s because she could have died or the chance of getting help was slim.
People have pushed me out; helped me up; and commiserated with me.
One of my favorite stories is when a friend and I got stuck (I was driving) and my car wouldn’t start. It was winter, wet, cold and nighttime. As we sat in the car waiting for help to arrive, we both commented on how wool coats stink when they get wet. (I know…you had to be there. It was funny at the time and we still laugh about it 30 years later.)
What makes it less scary is that there are people around who are willing to help. These are the same people who will cut you off at the Starbucks drive-through entrance or flip you the bird for no reason at all. Sprinkle some adversity on and people get nicer. It’s like Christmas time when people are happy and kind for exactly a week before reverting to their former dreadful self.
I have been very grateful for these temporary transformations. It’s what binds us together as humans. It’s what got me out of snow banks.