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My brother informed me the other day that winter this year will probably last until June. I would blow this off as just another side effect of his occasional pessimism except that he often tends to be right about these things, which in this case, is a little more than just depressing.
I generally make an effort to not allow my state of mind to be too powerfully influenced by the weather conditions. Let's face it...up here that way can lie madness. I usually manage to get through the winter without too much whining or complaining but this year, well...you know. This has been a long and difficult winter and has tested my resolve to the limit. It has been frigidly cold, icy, and nasty for what seems like forever and I can't honestly say that I see any of the familiar signs of it ending any time soon. Spring does not look as if it is right around the corner. In fact, I looked around the corner and all I saw was more winter.
Honestly, the worst part about a bad winter to me is the driving in it. I do pretty well in the cold because I stay out of it whenever possible and dress for it when I can't. I like to snowshoe and never get cold doing it, but this year even snowshoeing has been pretty miserable. Too much icy wind. Too much ice, period. But driving is another matter altogether. I have had to drive in every nasty, horrible storm that we have had this year and it was not fun. I'm no wimp when it comes to driving in the winter but enough is enough. I don't have a 4 wheel drive vehicle; I can't afford to buy one and I certainly can't afford to put gas in one, so I drive a little 4 door sedan with all weather tires, which I have come to understand actually means all weather except ours. It's not horrible in the winter, but it isn't great either. Driving is a tense experience and this year I have been tense so often driving in bad weather that when I finally get where I am going I could probably open a bottle of beer with my teeth, and I don't even drink.
Other drivers sometimes don't make it any easier when you are driving under terrifying conditions. There are your 4 wheel drive, giant truck people who seem to believe that they are immune to bad road conditions and like to do things like fly past you on the road or get right up close behind you because you are going too slowly and annoying them. I make it a point to totally ignore these people no matter how much they try to bore their headlights into my brain from behind in indignation. I will go just as slowly as I think I need to go to be safe and that's all there is to it. If anyone feels the need to go around me they may do so and good luck to them. I won't lie to you, sometimes when they fly around me and I come upon them later in a ditch I experience a small sense of satisfaction. It's wrong, of course, but it can be hard holding on to your better nature when someone nearly ran you off the road because they think they are special.
I really don't like gigantic tractor trailers in a storm. If you are driving down the highway and a huge, heavy truck goes barreling by you they tend to make everything on the road fly up onto your windshield, rendering you blind and causing you to use language you might otherwise not feel comfortable using. I'll admit that I have questioned the ancestry of more than a few truck drivers in my time.
Then there are what I call the 'hotdoggers', the young people who have less sense than a storm drain who think it is really cool to go fast in snow and then slam on your breaks. Fortunately, most of this type tend to keep their activities restricted to parking lots, but every once in awhile one of them will attempt something stupid on the road. Yippee. Nothing I like more than those fun loving guys.
Let's face it, we are all tired. Tired of driving on roads covered with 4 layers of ice under snow, tired of going to our cars, which look like some ugly popsicle and spending 20 minutes trying to defrost it enough to even start it. Tired of cold icy sleet falling on our heads and being blown into our faces by gale force winds. Tired of driving on roads that more closely resemble hockey rinks than streets, without any of the fun. Just tired of it all.
Even though my brother's prognosis for the future is dark and dim, I'll know when it's spring. I'll know because I'll take off my long underwear and have an irresistible desire to shave my legs. Also, I will no longer have a death grip on my steering wheel or grind my teeth while driving. I can only hope that it happens before June.
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