We’ve had our first blast of winter weather in southern Ontario. And of course thousands of ordinarily sane drivers lost their minds and got stuck in unplowed driveways, drove into snowbanks or spun out on every slight incline. It’s odd how, during the months when the roads are bare, you don’t pay the slightest heed to the contours of the terrain. But add a strong wind, a thin layer of black ice and several strata of the white stuff and it feels like you need one of those monster trucks to gt by.

When I finally got myself organized to leave for work today, Mark, our snowplow guy was out on the front steps scraping off a knee-high dump of snow. I waited in the garage as he wielded his huge truck blade around like an icing spreader and cleaned the driveway. That was the good part. As soon as I backed into the street, the mounds of packed snow were scraping the undercarriage. No damage done, but it was a preview of things to come. Despite the fact that we were a couple of hours into the workday, the streets hadn’t been cleared or sanded so driving was dicey. Thank goodness for 4-wheel drive and gigantic snow tires.

stucktruckAs the day wore on, we’d gather at the windows to stare at the cars with all-season (meaning spring, summer and part of autumn) tires spin to a stop on the slight incline on the street in front of our building. The piece de resistance was a large delivery truck that made it up about half way then began to spin out. Even from our third floor perch you could almost smell the rubber burning as the tires spun useless and he began to slide back down into the intersection. He tried a couple more times but failed to make it. Finally, he decided to park and wait for the heavy tow truck. Three hours later, one arrived, hooked him up and bulled up the hill to the warehouse around the corner.

I didn’t bother suiting up for my noon walk. It takes as long to get dressed and slather on moisturizer as it does to do the walking. It was still windy and I had visions of my mascara running until I looked like a sad raccoon, so I stayed in side and did my circuits in the basement. At least I wasn’t the only one. It’s getting harder to get in my daily steps. I hate the boney feel of cold fingers. The skin on my face feels tight and thin as the frost leaves my cheeks. Driving to the Wal-Mart up the way seems counter-productive and I worry that some over-eager security boffin will wonder why the crazy lady with the earbuds is walking up and down every aisle in the store not stopping to buy anything.

Oh well, maybe the snow will make everyone feel all mellow and Christmas-y? Um, not likely. If the carnage I saw on the roads today (an accident every 3 minutes) was any indication, there’ll be a lot of unhappy campers smacking themselves in the forehead and asking, ‘why didn’t I buy winter tires’?