Mar 8, 2013

'Slip sliding away'

My car danced to a Paul Simon tune in this morning's snow storm. It started 'slip sliding away' as I took a left turn.

The graceful spin swung me into oncoming traffic in the next lane. Uneventfully. The creeping cars had halted in time and left just enough space for my skid to achieve completion. Since the only thing to do in a skid is ride it out, i was as much a spectator as they. A few seconds worth of Eternity. In the short pause that followed after I'd finally stopped skidding, I looked at the cars frozen still around me. Through the snow filled air, I thought I glimpsed a bobble hatted head peering at me from the nearest car.

From concern, I decided, and gave them a reassuring little wave. Just in case.

Behind me the three MBTA buses, that moments ago had honked in symphony to speed up the left turn that I was gingerly taking, seemed silenced by contrition. They waited patiently as I straightened out and gently guided my wonderfully snow worthy Subaru back into it's rightful lane.

Finally parked at the sparsely populated train station (folks must be taking a snow day off from work, rightfully), I flicked up the windshield wipers in preparation for the additional foot of snow we would receive by the time I headed back home. Then I settled in for my short wait until the train arrived.  The cell phone showed missed calls from my husband. From 90 deg F Kolkata where he was attending to family matters. He had worriedly been planning and orchestrating our snow removal and safety in his absence.

When I returned his call the background noise was cacophonous. The usual honking, hollering and car/bus noises that their Kolkata flat is immersed in. Inside my car, enveloped in that preternatural hush that only thickly falling snow brings, it was surprisingly reassuring to know that we could have such diversity and still keep spinning on our axis.

I reassured him that we had easily dug out of the 4-6 inches that fell overnight (Oyon being worth his weight in gold for the way he cleaned off my car windows!). He reassured me that the 50 degree forecast for the weekend pre-empts any real concern: residuals would melt.

I found I didn't want to tell him about the skid right then. Not the least because the commonplace nature of it made it unremarkable. Also because I didn't want him to worry any more. I wish I could have told him though how calming it felt to be able to handle that skid. How it might have turned out much more unpleasantly if I had not heard his voice from 16 yrs ago advising me to shelf instinct, stay off the brakes and steer into the skid.

I deal with most icy-road missteps in my stride, like most people in this area, and seldom even remember that I've had them by days end. But today felt different.

Maybe it was because Oyon had ended up wailing in the car as we finally set out for school. His boots and gloves had gotten wet and he was freezing. Perhaps it was because my head ached so badly from exposure and remnants of Chicken Pox that I had yelled at him to just deal with it and quit crying. He had wailed even louder then shouted 'But I HAVE to cry. I'm so cold it hurts. This is the worst day ever!' . I snapped out of it just enough to go back in the house to fetch him dry socks and a blanket for the frigid car interior. I also doled out an apology and a hug. Not his fault my head hurt.

I guess I'd been skidding off track since 6 am when I woke up with that achy head. Recovering from the car skid was the easiest of them all. And I felt grateful for the person who hovered protectively in my life, even from thousands of miles away and 16 years ago.

Oyon: Did you watch 'woody woodpecker' when you were little too?
Me: Yes.
Oyon: I thought so. The show looks very, very old.


  1. Again loved reading it...but worried me too....comforting to know that a message from the past ...or was it yelling? :-) for me it was always yelling and used to be the cause of most fights those days... In least we can smile about it.

    Extra bonus Oyon-ism always makes my day brighter....hugs for the big guy....

    Why you get frequent headaches? Hope not migraine? Keep amrutanjan handy....sometimes it helps...if you dont have that small jar ask SG to get one from are you feeling today?

    Be well

    1. Hi M: Thanks for reading. Will give O your hugs but come deliver in persons sometime. It'll be fun to see you guys again. The headaches are a residual I think from Chicken Pox. We did'nt really get much opportunity to rest and recuperate the way we probably ought to have and it's showing. Hope it'll pass soon. Feeling a bit better since Sunday, thanks. Maybe it's drwaing to a close finally. Take care. C'ee