Friday, November 25, 2005

a winter's tale

We had a little bit of snow last night, and I found out a little while ago, when I went out to take a letter to the post office, that since our street won't have direct sunlight until after lunch, the road has a thin layer of ice and is pretty slick. After living in the Carolinas for ten years or so, I've learned that you don't need three feet of snow to create dangerous driving conditions. Happily I was just walking to the post office - as far as I can tell, Steph navigated the ice just fine on his way to work this morning. It reminded me of the last winter I spent in the States, when I learned that two inches of snow covered by two inches of ice is enough to bring Greenville, South Carolina to a full stop.

The company that I worked for had a policy that I detested - if you weren't able to get to the office because of weather conditions, that day was taken from your vacation time. Since I was hoarding vacation time to visit my future husband in France that Spring, I was determined to get to work come hell or high water.

My manager happened to live not too far away from me and had volunteered to pick me up, but I lived at the bottom of a hill, so we had arranged to meet at the top of the hill. Getting to the top was no easy feat, and I was finding it incredibly difficult. I was able to break through the ice and march across lawns, but getting across driveways was next to impossible and walking in the street was out of the question.

About half-way up the hill, a small group of neighbors (whom I didn't know) were standing outside a house and were watching my progress. One of them broke away from the group and came towards me as easy as you please. For a moment, I was mesmorized by the man who could walk on ice, until he showed me that he was wearing mountain climbing picks on his shoes. He asked me what I was doing, and I pointed out my manager's car at the top of the hill and explained what was going on. He kindly offered to help me out - I took his arm and skated up the hill and let this nice man and his ice-picks do all the work. I couldn't help but ask what he and his friends were doing standing outside in these conditions.

"We were just watching all the SUVs try to drive up and down the hill - they're not doing so hot. So then we got the idea to come out and cheer them on. We even made scoring signs, like at the Olympics."

I looked over my shoulder, and the neighbors were laughing and hoisting up scores for me. One kind soul even gave me a "10."

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