“Come on, come on” I quietly coax my car up the snow covered hill. It is the sine qua non of my present life. I worry over it: my ears ever alert to any anomalous sounds. Besides my children, it is the only thing that makes me feel really vulnerable. It could all go very wrong and that would be it really. I can only take so much. It was the reason I was out in the middle of the season’s first serious snowstorm. I had an appointment for an oil change: I am constitutionally inclined to keep appointments.
I cannot help myself.
In the back of my head my other cruel self mocked my effort, chastised and shamed me by pointing out my reckless stupidity. Yes, thanks for that, I thought to myself, but I need to focus here so please shut up. The roads had been bad but passable when I left. I had thought the weather would improve by the time I returned. But I was wrong. If there is a limit to one’s wrongness, I can’t seem to get there. I was in second gear moving an inch at a time, but I was moving. And not backwards, so that was good. I saw cars in the rear view mirror re-thinking the incline, but I was already past mid hill, and it was a long hill, backing down would be scarier than crawling up. If only I hadn’t had to make a turn to get onto it: that was my demise. Finally over the hill, my dilemma did not improve. For perhaps the first time ever I had forgot to wear my glasses which did not help in the white white of everything. The windshield wipers had become elongated blocks of ice smearing the melting snow at the exact spot that my eyes wished to view the road. I continued on slowly in third gear which the car seemed to favor. I suspect the road had not been plowed since I had driven down it earlier: where it didn’t lay 10 inches high, it was packed onto the road 4 inches thick. The car had come to a decision- apparently, it had had enough. It simply stopped trying to grip the road. We sloped to the right, then to the left, the engine groaned to control itself. I turned the steering wheel back and forth trying to keep up with the tires. I saw the little general store ahead and my hands, overriding any thoughts I had on the matter, turned the car into the parking lot. As I couldn’t see very much I jumped the curb sliding into a spot right next to a minvan which I mercifully did not hit even though the possibility presented itself. Well, I thought, I would have preferred not to abandon my car, but what’s done is done. I grabbed my bag, put my gloves on and walked the final 2 miles to my abode. I walked away from the car with surprising ease. I will be happy the day I don’t need it so much. I passed the cars that had been following me as they waited to get around cars that had become disabled on the road. I felt good: on my own feet in the crisp cold gray. Holding my hood in front of my face to keep the icy snow from pelting my burning cheeks, I had a pleasant walk, I might have even skipped if it hadn’t been for the stabbing pain of a new blister on my right heal.