The low growl of my tires spinning in place gave voice to what I could see- I wasn’t going anywhere. Slowly, I pressed harder on the gas pedal. The noise from my still stationary tires morphed from the low growl to a high squeal as the RPMs jumped. The sound made me laugh- it felt like my car was protesting. I was trying to turn off my little side street into traffic but the sheet of ice beneath me impeded my progress.
Headlights beamed in through the window on the passenger side of my car, indicating that I needed to lay off and wait before I could get out into traffic. I let off the gas and began to slide back down the little slope that was my street. The truck behind me flashed his brights, as if they weren’t already shining in my eyes through my mirrors and the back window of my little car. If the driver didn’t want me to slide back into him, he shouldn’t have pulled up so close!
I hit the gas enough to keep my tires spinning and keep me in place. The rear-end of my hatch-back fish-tailed back and forth while I looked for my chance to slide out onto the main road. That chance came almost a minute later. Darkness on both sides told me I needed to punch it right then and there so I could get out of my situation and begin the drive to work.
I hit some sort of traction right away because my car rocketed up the minor incline. I yanked the wheel to the left and pulled my foot off the gas and glided into my lane but then veered beyond it, toward the curb and the sidewalk on my right. A jolt of adrenaline sent a shock through my chest and my heart seemed to stop beating. I jerked the wheel to the left pushed on the gas again and my little orange car propelled itself forward. Seven miles of awesome, challenging, ice-covered road separated me from my office. I prayed to Jesus that I’d make it to work without getting into an accident.
I LOVE living in the frozen tundra!
I had been repeating this mantra for several days as the temperature dropped, the clouds moved in, and the snow began to dump on my city. Years of denouncing the cold, bitter winters that accost Idaho wore me down. I had to try to enjoy one. I had to see what joy exists in a “winter wonderland.” All my friends like the cold. Many ski and snowboard though. I decided to challenge myself to have a good attitude about what I was biologically disinclined to survive (skinny white boys don’t do well in sub-zero temperatures)
I looked around at lots of blue, gray and amber. The snow reflected light from street lights, headlights and the gradually brightening sky. I smiled and exhaled a cloud of steam, my car wasn’t warm yet. My hands shook on the frigid steering wheel my jaw locked into place because of the cold. The headache that resulted from my frost induced lock-jaw lasted for about three hours…
Changing your attitude about a problem doesn’t make an issue go away. I’m searching for some perspective-altering revelation that will make me like winter, but so far, I’m not finding it. I might compare this to ignoring a disease or cancer in your body. You can smile about it, tell yourself that everything’s normal and even act like it’s alright, but the situation won’t disappear. Complaining doesn’t make it better, especially if circumstances (like winter) can’t be altered. But not everything is an act of nature. Some issues stem from overwhelming stupidity. Other challenges (politically correct way to say sucky situations) emerge out of circumstances that one can morph in a minute. We need to know which is which and act accordingly because