Monday, January 12, 2009


Living in a sprawled-out city lacking decent mass transit means that ice is a bad thing. Cars were not meant to drive on it, and in this city, each man, woman and child owns 1.4 automobiles. Even the most impoverished among us manage somehow to own cars in this city, because they have to. When I moved here, I had never owned a car. I was told in no uncertain terms that if I didn't buy a car and start driving it, I'd lose my job trying to rely on unreliable public transportation.

I complied, reluctantly. The only ways I can show my defiance are by A) taking the bus to work once in a while, bragging about it widely, and B) owning a car which is as small as possible.

The car looks elongated here, almost like a station wagon, but it's a subcompact- a Honda Civic hatchback. To carry my defiance a step further, I refuse to adhere to society's rule of replacing one's vehicle a minimum of every 6 years. This Honda is 18 years old. (Yay!!!!!) If I must drive, at least I'm going to do it my way.

"Do you feel SAFE in that thing on congested highways!!??," they ask. Well, my answer is this: I've never been in an accident with this car, whereas the average accident rate where I live is one every 7 years for each driver. The Child and I have been 100% safe in this car (against all odds, apparently). And whenever it breaks down, as aging cars will from time to time, it either breaks down in my driveway or within a short walking distance of my house. The last time it broke down, it was within a mile of the shop where I have it worked on, and miraculously, I was able to drive it into the shop on its last breath. (The alternator was kaput.)

Those who know the life story of my car acknowledge that it's magical.

Getting back to the ice, the photo at the top is symbollic of the way I am trying to focus these days. The ice has a downside for those of us who have to get to work come hell or high water, but it also has its magical side, which turns the world outdoors into a fairyland.

However, I have heard stories recently of people I know who have been seriously injured just by walking on ice. One of The Child's babysitters, one who did yoga everyday and appeared to be extremely fit, fell on ice while trying to walk from her car to her house. The result was a disabling hip injury for which she had surgery. She can barely get around now, and yoga is out of the question.

After hearing a shocking number of stories like this, I decided to take action against ice. I searched the internet for solutions and came up with this:

These "Stabilicers" are supposed to be attached to one's shoes to provide safety on ice. I immediately ordered a pair. I guess I'm not as concerned about ice as I think I am, because I've never even tried to attach them to my shoes. But somehow I feel as if I have a grip on the ice problem.

Yet, horror of horrors, I fell on the ice while walking the Chihuahua early one morning a couple of weeks ago. To my surprise, I was not paralized from the waist down. I didn't have to cry out for help or dial 911. I didn't need surgery or a cast on my arm. I walked away from it, unscathed.

I guess it's magic.


Nancy said...

Living in Michigan all my life, the snow I can take ... never the ice. I've fallen on my be-hind way too many times! Those ice shoes look like they'd do the trick.


Lynilu said...

One thing I certainly do no miss from the Midwest is ice. I didn't like that snow lasted till it was black and brown, but the ice is scarier by far. One day my car did a 360° spin on black ice at 20 mph, and it is true that your life passes before you at those moments!

I'm glad you were not seriously hurt in your fall. Be vewy, vewy cawful (quoting Elmer Fudd)!!!

Betty said...

Dear Nancy,

I hope I actually test those ice shoes sometime, rather than allowing them to gather dust I my closet! I hope you're right, and they'll do the trick.


Betty said...

Dear Lynilu,

You really ARE lucky if you never have to worry about ice! Someday, when I have the freedom to choose where I live instead of having a job decide for me, I will live in an ice-free zone!!!!!!

And thanks for that Fudd quote. i will heed his advice!


Laurie said...

SNOW!!!! I miss that sometimes...
Never miss the cold...Heck I don't
miss the heat...
Looks like you got around to finish
waxing the car...Sorry...I had to
say that... :)

We get some bad ice around here
sometimes...Once when I was in
beauty school I slipped on ice
and landed flat on my tail bone...
THANK GOD my tail bone curves more
than most peoples...But it did
compact my spine and I had to go
to the doc to get it fixed...

Glad all is going good there :)

HUGS to you and the child!!!

Loving Annie said...

Very lucky to have fallen and be okay ! Those shoes look pretty cool to help - when they work :)

Betty said...

Dear Laurie,

Actually, funny you should mention it- I showed the side of the car with the wax job finished- the other side is STILL not buffed!!!!

And I guess I can understand why you'd miss snow- it can be appealing sometimes, on a day off, maybe.....


Betty said...

Dear Annie,

I've actually never worn the ice shoes- I was walking on totally inappropriate shoes when I fell! It was my own darn fault!


Monogram Queen said...

Ice IS beautiful but can be deadly as well.

I love you stabilicers! I hope you don't have any serious injuries due to the ice (especially black ice while driving).

I love how you're a rebel. Love.It!

(p.s. my car is 10 years old and mechanically sound and i'm not getting a new one either despite all the "haters" telling me I need one. Excuse me... why?????)

WaterLearner said...

We don't get that in Singapore. So I can't really imagine having to walk with that! I got snow when I was in Germany quite a few years back. But it was never that bad though.

See that you have been quite busy.

Hope to see you around.

Happy New Year!!