It snowed here last night.
That happens in Wisconsin, from time to time. You get used to it.
The problem, however, is that while the weather outside may be frightful, there are still places we need to go. Let it snow, my foot. Which, it turned out, was about how much snow we got here. (See how I made that transition? That's how you know I'm a professional. Don't try that kind of rhetorical trickery at home, kids!)
I think that’s some kind of record for a “first measurable” snowfall. Yay, team. It’s the kind of weather that makes you want to sit down with an appropriate beverage and a good book.
Except that there are still chickens that need to be looked after, out at the barn. We haven’t had the time to work on getting the hens into town, now that the ordinance allowing us to do that has passed, and the roosters wouldn’t be allowed here anyway. So every day we drive out to the barn and toss some food at them, collect whatever eggs they have decided to give us (sparse recently, with the diminishing daylight, but probably more coming as they get used to it), and generally amuse ourselves since there is just something inherently ridiculous about chickens. Plus now there are a couple of stray kittens in the barn, giving Bristol the barn cat some competition, so there’s that too. They’re adorable in the way kittens are, and gradually they are beginning to be more sociable with us.
Lauren and I got out there in mid-afternoon, after the snow had stopped falling but before anyone had plowed the street the barn is on or made any attempt at the long driveway that leads from the one to the other. My little car is not exactly the sort of thing that would feature in advertisements where powerful motor vehicles routinely burst their way through snowdrifts the size of Donald Trump’s ego, spraying snow like so much foam-flecked campaign drivel. It’s more the kind of vehicle that eases up to such things, carefully tests one tire, and then goes back home to read a good book with an appropriate beverage near to hand.
And thus the circle of life is complete.
The driveway was not plowed. I knew from experience that even with half that much snowfall it would have been whipped up by the wind into mountainous drifts that would suck my car in and keep it there until spring. So rather than take that chance, I carefully turned the car around in the entryway and parked on the side of the road.
Next to the ditch.
Can you see what’s coming next? Because I didn’t. Although really, I should have.
Yes, when I went to go home the car resolutely refused to go back onto the road no matter how much I rocked it back and forth, hit gas and brake in turn, turned the steering wheel this way and that, and carefully refrained from giving voice to the Full Profanity Experience in deference to my daughter sitting beside me, who would probably not be surprised by any individual component of that experience even if the totality would likely have struck her as somewhat awkward. Eventually the car slid most of the way into the ditch and stuck there.
Kim came to collect Lauren, since the two of them had already made plans to go see the latest dystopian movie thriller now in cinemas near you – definitely a “coals to Newcastle” kind of experience here in the modern US of A, I suppose, but a good story is a good story. The book was quite good, as I recall.
I called AAA and settled in to wait for the tow truck.
Almost every single car that passed me stopped to ask if I needed anything. Most of the people driving trucks looked at my car appraisingly, trying to figure out if there were something they could attach a towrope to (answer: no, not really – best to leave that to the professionals). We’d chat for a few minutes, and I’d reassure them that someone professional was coming, and they’d wish me luck and head off down the road.
It was nice, really.
It's so easy to get caught up in the nonsense that defines so much of the public sphere in this country these days – the rhetoric, the insanity, the proposals quite literally stolen from the Nazis that are inexplicably popular with far too many people – but when you do you forget that most people are decent sorts. That the Dismal Tenth may be loud, aggressive, and dangerously close to taking over, but they are not most people.
It’s nice to be reminded of that, on a cold snowy day by the side of the road.