I wasn't born this way and didn't realize the warning signs of my vulnerability until I was on the rocky road to perdition. I think the first signs of it was when my father would drive the family, relentlessly, to Mass on Sundays, come rain, shine, snow or ice storm. In my rational 8 year old way, I reasoned that if God wanted me dead, surely he wouldn't have forbidden my mother birth control back in the fifties. No, God wanted me here, safe and sound, conceived and gestated back in 1952.
And who am I to argue with God?????
So on Sundays, when we all climbed into the station wagon (this was in pre-historic times, long before mini-vans and seat belts), we'd say our prayers and skid our way into the parking lot of St. Jude's Catholic Church. This wasn't Judas Iscariot, betrayer of Jesus, this was St. Jude, Patron Saint of Lost Causes, the saint all of us wusses - those who dreaded the Sunday voyages on sheets of ice that coated the East County of Portland Oregon - prayed to in winter months - that St. Jude. I attended parochial school at St. Jude's, a harbinger of my later commitment to Catholicism as an adult, I might add.
Things didn't improve when I was in high school and was attending public school. My decision to eschew ALL driving was well--rooted by that time. My then boyfriend, Dan, and I went to a drive-in movie and managed to fog up the windows well enough to miss the ice building up on the windshield and streets of East County (yes, grasshopper, Hell does freeze over). When we did inch our way home, it was 2 am and 3 hours after my curfew. What parts of Hell that didn't freeze over came down on us like a rain of cranky, sober parents. I swore then to never venture out of my cave if there was even a hint of anything closely resembling snow, ice, hail or Hell in the forecast.
Fast forward to the 80's when I was a young married woman. My husband was doing his patriotic duty and filling his Naval Reserve commitment the weekend that the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle movie was released. My own little mutants were hollering up a storm so loudly that I managed to swallow my pride and common sense and take them to the local theater for the movie, when, once again, the gods of disaster had the last word. Our hilly drive home after the movie made a permanent wuss-a-holic of me then, and it has lasted well into my senility.
My husband isn't much better. Being the Lord of All that's Dangerous, he did learn to drive in "inclement weather" and managed to plow his way through the worst of it, at least he did that until some old fart plowed into him in a driveway where my husband had parked to escape him. The old fart, bless his heart, lost control of his sedan driving down Binford Lake Parkway. John saw this and turned into a stranger's driveway to escape the drifting menacing car, which followed John into the driveway, rammed our car which was driven into the stranger's boat that was then driven into his garage that held his vehicle.
Was this stranger angry????? Noooooooooooo. It seems that our car absorbed the brunt of the offending vehicle well enough to keep it away from the family's picture window where the stranger's children had congregated to watch the idiots who chose to drive in bad weather get crushed.
So ok, I get my mammograms every year, got my colonoscopy at age 50 and have otherwise followed all the rules of healthy living. As a result, I simply choose not to drive in bad weather. I also choose to not do illegal drugs, drink to excess, over-do carbohydrates and watch my sugar intake.
It has come to my attention that other people in other cultures actually do choose to drive when Hell freezes over. AND THEY DO SO COMPETENTLY. Amazingly they do it in Montana, Pennsylvania, Alaska, Siberia and Santaville. I say more power to them, but please, keep your "at risk" behavior to yourselves.
In my perfect world, driving in bad weather is a Mortal Sin. There are so many of us stupid wusses out there, and we all know each other and breed . We regularly send out scouts whenever the temperature plunges to insure that you intrepid souls are reminded that not all of us are immortal. We've kept this a secret, but the wary will recognize us by our threadbare tires and mini-vans of crash dummies. We all wear bermuda shorts and flip flops, the shirt being optional.
My husband and I are an odd coupling. He is sane and responsible, I'm crazy and hysterical. But I've known him long enough to fill him in on our covert society - and he respects us.
So, the next time you are tempted to drive in bad weather, remember that we wusses and our scouts are out there, ramming cars, boats and mailboxes with our SUV minivans with threadbare tires. We have our families with us, are all wearing short pants and drinking umbrella drinks. Our auto insurance has lapsed, and the closest cop, being a rational person, is at Dunkin' Donuts, drinking their excellent coffee.
We know where you live and we aren't afraid of you.