driving lesson

truckblizzard

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.  

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