Do they have blizzards where you are? They don’t? You should try one sometime! Blizzards are a combination of falling snow, colder-than-necessary temperatures, strong winds, and serpentine drifts that obscure the road.
Consider it a test of your fortitude, your driving skills, your imagination, and your intelligence.
Can you handle the stress of not seeing more than a couple feet in front of you?
Can you keep the car on the road?
Can you see the road? Can you see the exit?
What in the world are you doing out in a blizzard, anyway?
All of your abilities will be tested – some of them (your intelligence, perhaps) just by getting in the car in the first place.
Believe me when I tell you that the majority of the time there’s nowhere you need to go during a blizzard except to the closet for another blanket.
Or perhaps to the fridge.
But like I said: I used to be invincible.
I was invincible right up to two miles outside of town, when my ’74 Ford LTD, a car built to carry you and seven of your best friends comfortably, slid, ever so slowly, off the side of the road, sideways, and down into a ditch.
Now, when you find yourself with your tail pipe in the snow, you also find yourself seeing the beauty in what you should’ve seen earlier and you turn the car off and sit in the cold, gray silence, considering the possibility that you may be mentally deficient and that those closest to you, for some reason, have been reluctant to say so. You think about the setting sun and the way the temperature will drop.
This is sometimes the part in the story where you go on to read of the writer’s slow and painful demise, how they found her body, the way her last words were recorded in lipstick on the interior of the car.
Either that or it’s the part where a large red pick-up comes down this same deserted county road and how four muscular, meat-and-potatoes Wisconsin boys in seed-and-feed caps pull over, jump out in jeans and sweatshirt and head towards your car.
“Ma’am?” says the biggest one, holding his arms out.
Yes, yes, please! I unwind my window and hold my arms up for Farm Boy #1 who lifts me, easily, out of the car and out of the ditch, and places me inside the cab of the truck.
My feet never even touch the ground.
He shuts the door, and Farm Boys One through Four step down into the ditch, each of them taking a corner of my car. They lift the LTD as if it is hollow, step carefully up the shallow ditch, and place the car back on the road.
And then they refuse to take my money.
And half an hour later, I am at Paula’s house, where we drink beer, play Scrabble, and go out for breakfast in the morning.
I just love Wisconsin. If you’re ever going to slide off the road, I suggest you do it there.