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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Not on ice

I'm sure friends of mine up north will laugh, but just the hint of ice here in Dallas makes people panic. And, after ten years of living here, I'm trying to not be one of those people.

I don't seem to recall ice that much growing up in Houston. I remember a few times that school was cancelled because of ice, but never as much as in Dallas. I wasn't aware of lake bridges freezing over. I wasn't aware of overpasses freezing over. When my commute to and from school involved none of that, that sort of stuff never came onto my radar. When I moved to Fort Worth, that changed.

I remember very, very well when I slipped on an iced-over step en route to my first class of the day. It was Thursday, and Thursdays were the days when I was in class literally between 9:30am and 5pm. With the edge of a step hitting my lower left back, I thought I would temporarily be in pain. When I could barely sit still during my first two classes, I took some aspirin before my third class, a class that was three hours long and devoted to action-adventure films. Aspirin didn't work.

As much as I love Buster Keaton's movies, I couldn't sit through the one my class watched that day. Right as I put my feet down to leave, the power went out. My streak of perfect attendance was not dashed as class was cancelled for the day. Going to the on-campus clinic, I was relieved that it was only a bruise and I was prescribed Motrin IB. It did the trick.

Years later, while working in promotions, anxiety kept me away from driving between Fort Worth and Dallas for an event. The weather said ice was coming and people should stay off of bridges and overpasses. All sorts of anxiety filled me and I couldn't sleep. The only way I could fall asleep was after I called my boss and said I couldn't come out for the event.

A couple years after that, I'm working a job where I can't call in unless I'm deathly ill. The streets were covered in ice and I foolishly decided to drive on sidestreets all the way down. It was a slow roll, making my usual twenty-minute drive into an hour commute. I thought the highways would be bad, so I did what I thought I should do. Well, save the for slow fishtail right in front of a Presbyterian church (how fitting), my ride was rather calm.

Now I'm at a point where I can't call in because of ice. So today, I just had to brave the elements and just rely on faith that the sandtrucks did their job and go in at 4:30 in the morning. Save for a couple of hard brake-tapping turning onto sidestreets (and a long time for the car to defrost), I made the trip without much alarm.

Talk about being forced into a situation and just learning to deal with it. Often times, that's what it takes for me and my stubborn head.

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