Nearly 3:00 p.m. and I’m just sitting down to tackle today’s blog post. I spent many hours on the road this weekend to visit a friend in Madison and family in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. Mick and I left with son Shawn and daughter Abby – neither of whom live at home anymore, so this was a pretty special road trip – early Saturday morning and came back late last night on snowy, slippery roads amidst swirling snowflakes. We had to laugh at how the earlier part of this winter has been unusually warm and that we had tornadoes in Minnesota just a week ago, so of course the snowstorm would happen the one weekend we all drove out of town. But them’s the breaks, as they say.
Today I got to spend more time in my car to pick up our dog from the boarding kennel about 30 miles away and then run other mundane but essential errands. But the sun is shining, the new snow is clean and sparkly, and there was nothing to be in a crabby Monday mood about.
As I drove around what seemed like ALL the freeways in the metro area today, I noticed that the illuminated traffic signs that typically warn of crashes or lane closures all said something else entirely: “Kiss me. I’m sober.” It took me a few seconds to realize that Minnesota law enforcement is preparing for St. Patrick’s Day this Friday. (The signs should have been green, come to think of it.) And I wondered how many people would see those signs and then remember them come Friday when they hoist a Harp or a Guinness or a shot of Jameson in honor of all things Irish. I’ll be hoisting something but from the comfort of my own living room for the simple fact that I like a slightly quieter St. Patrick’s Day than I used to, one in which no beer gets spilled on me. No worries about cars weaving around near me.
It is serious stuff, though. Imbibing is fun, a lot of us like it, and it’s a huge part of our culture. But that split second traffic mistake is unimaginably expensive if there is alcohol involved. On our way home last night, none of us had any alcohol because that would have been an incredibly stupid choice for a five-hour drive on snowy and dark roads. We like our lives too much. And we saw a lot of cars off the sides of the interstate because of the slick roads; how many of those people were unlucky versus inebriated? Who knows? But I would guess that there were at least a few who would have stayed on the road if they had chosen soda over beer.
In the bright light of a sunny day that illuminates fresh snow, those “Kiss me. I’m sober.” signs are so logical. Of course, one might think, I won’t make that mistake.
Until they do.
Have a safe St. Patrick’s Day. Imbibe responsibly – eat some corned beef and cabbage with that Guinness!
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