A year earlier, on a February morning, my dad decided to teach me how to drive on the highway in the middle of a blizzard. We were approaching I-75 – one of the two major expressways in Cincinnati – and at that point I’d never merged onto a highway in any weather, much less a blizzard. As I merged, I turned the steering wheel a bit too hard to the left. The car skidded 180 degrees and then drove towards oncoming traffic.
Whether it was the surreal, heavy snowfall, or a clouded lens of pure fear, the traffic – trucks, cars, everything – came at us like a glittering, slow motion stampede.
“Get out of the car!” yelled my father.
I shoved open the door and jumped, and then watched the car continue it’s slow slide forward. Dad, now also out of the car, yelled to me:
“Did you put it in park?”
I stared at him, speechless. Did I what?
Beautiful, life-threatening vehicles skated past us, caroming off the side rail, slipping into ditches. And it occurred to me how typical this was of my life – of me and my father. Being thrust into some insane, completely preventable situation of our own creation.
Together, we stood in deep, tread-marked ice watching his poor Chevy Caprice slide unerringly into an immense 18-wheeler. We were extremely lucky. No one got hurt. No one pressed charges. And despite barreling into the grill of a truck several times its own size, our Caprice suffered only a crushed headlight. The 18-wheeler, of course, remained in perfect condition.