Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Cosmic message

The snow was coming fast, really more of a mixture of sleet, hail and chunky snow, laying itself down in globby driftlets over a fresh coating of ice. Hubby only saw the layer of just-setting ice as he left the house at 6:00 a.m. By 7:20 a.m., another inch and half of thickening precipitation had fallen. Ugh, what a mess.

The boy was not particularly cooperative, either; he'd not packed his snack, couldn't find his shoes, forgot to brush his teeth, misplaced his gloves, spilled his breakfast. You name it, it was going wrong for him and by extension for me as well. By the time I got out to start the car and scrape off the accumulation, it was already time to pull out of the driveway under normal conditions. The scraper broke as I reefed on the quarter-inch glazing of ice beneath the chunky snow; thankfully there was another scraper in hubby's cruddy utility truck so I could finish the job. The boy whined that he couldn't open the car, the ice having sealed the opening and the door mechanism. We were officially late.

Not a good sign; the vehicle slid out into the main street from our side street even though my foot was off the gas. The road surface was pock marked, heavily packed ice more than an inch thick interspersed with the occasion patch of soft slush. The boy was overtalkative and fraying my nerves with a rat-a-tat-tat rap about Pokemon this and Yu-Gi-Oh that; I asked him to hold the unfocused chatter until we pulled into the parking lot at school, concentrate on drilling on spelling words instead since he'd neglected to practice the night before for that day's spelling test. Traffic was slowed to a 10 mph crawl, oozing along towards our destination. School should have been called off, I think to myself as we wait in an unusually long line of cars stopped in front of the school drive, hoping that no one would slide or get pushed into me or into cars and children disembarking in front of us. No one could get out of the parking lot because traffic was moving too slowly, and no one could get in the drive, either. I could hear first bell ringing, then second bell; I warned my son he was going to be late and that he should plan accordingly. No problem, though; it looked like half the school was going to be late.

It took another 15 minutes to get into and out of the driveway. I felt like I was going to pop, so stressed out, anxious that I'd not been able to get back to the house in time to give my daughter a lift to the bus stop. I slid to a stop at the next light and tried to relax my grip on the wheel and cleanse my mind.

The vehicle next to me in the thru lane slowly crept past me and through the intersection as I waited to turn left. The license plate caught my eye, though, and I had to laugh.

"Angst", it read, in big white letters in a field of blue on the back of the slowly moving SUV now receding into the distance and the falling snow.

Hah. As if I needed a reminder...but apparently I did. I took a deep breath, unclenched my jaw, relaxed my grip and turned towards home.

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