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.
Posted by B.S. at Monday, January 12, 2009