52 Ways to Shift Your Focus: Drive on Ice

Shift #33: Drive on Ice

I began today not with a journal and coffee, or with thoughts of this blog piece, but with my daughter behind the wheel of our Outlander as we navigated our way to the high school at 7:45 a.m. Abby picked a great day to oversleep. And I picked a great day to make her practice driving. [insert evil mom laugh here] Metaphors abound today, as the Twin Cities reacquaints itself with a necessary Minnesota winter survival skill: driving on ice.

We got to the corner of Hamline and Roselawn, just a few blocks from our house, and there were a couple of cars trying to head in the direction we were going to go. They spun their tires, slid sideways, and then went nowhere. I directed Abby around the marooned vehicles, up the slight hill, and back into the proper lane. Thank you four-wheel-drive and scattered bits of snow. She pulled herself out of a little skid without having to ask what to do. She opted to go 20 miles per hour at most, which gave me plenty of time to drink my coffee on the way. We did slide through one light that turned red as we were coming up to it, which caused Abby some momentary panic, but she figured it out without bumping anyone else’s bumper. And we got to the school on time, at which point Abby emphatically said she hated having to drive this morning.

And yet, she did all right. She did better than the woman who was stuck on the icy hill, holding up traffic, in front of the high school. That’s who I had to go around on my way home. The school bus behind me was too big to go around her. A few blocks later, I slowed down to go around a three-car accident, on the temporary skating rink that was formerly Lexington Avenue. The little cluster of crunched cars included one man in a Santa hat and assorted people in puffy jackets. Abby did better than they did, too. Once I got home, I got a call from my son, who was sliding his way across the metro, towards our favorite garage, because his brakes went out this morning. He opted to drive to the garage rather than go back home, using the newly-built snow banks for assistance in stopping, along with shifting his truck into a lower gear. He was out anyway, you know.

Yes, we are Minnesotans. I picked up Shawn once he got to the garage, which happens to be in our neighborhood.

And now, I’m thinking about all this stuff we do as people who live in a cold climate, and how that informs how we live in general. Turns out, these are perfect skills for all kinds of things, especially life as a freelance writer or artist. How many metaphors can you make from this story of skidding, adjusting, avoiding, and embracing? Just substitute stalled stories for stuck vehicles, and find your inner four-wheel-drive. You can do it.

Kitschy, but it works.

And now, I’m going to park myself in front of my fireplace. If the ice melts tomorrow, I’m pretty sure it won’t be because the world ended.

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