02 March 2015

Rain and Snow and Driving

One thing that might seem strange to people who live in the Northeast or Northern states is how a quarter inch of ice or a half inch of snow causes such a mess in TX. There is one simple answer. We DO NOT know how to drive on ice or snow. We don't even know how to drive in the rain.

Tonight, I was returning home from having dinner with my sister and brother-in-law, in Austin, (a forty-five mile one way trip) and it was misty, rainy and foggy, not cold enough to freeze, but just messy with iffy visibility. Most of the way home, it was still daylight although the sky and the light was steely gray. I was driving five to eight miles under the speed limit and trying my best to keep a safe distance from the car in front of me. Cars were screaming past me going ten, fifteen miles faster (this was in either a 60 or 70 mph area) and some cars tried to stay on my bumper. I was driving slowly enough that they soon zipped around me. But as soon as they cleared my front-end they cut back in my lane in front of me.

Happy birthday to Jan from SleuthSayers
Okay, I'll admit tonight I was driving like the proverbial "little old lady," but I did have a birthday yesterday and turned sixty-sixteen, so I'm allowed on occasion. More importantly, the idea of a car wreck is not my idea of Sunday night fun. When it's sunny and daylight or even at night, I do drive somewhat like a bat out of hell. I trust myself, my tires, and my brakes.

Sadly if a little rain, or ice or snow falls in Texas, it's as if a neon sign turns on inside too many brains, "go fast, we've got to get home NOW." Drivers turn into guys from Talladega Nights. We also have no snow tires or chains or snow plows. About the best our towns and counties and cities can do is dump sand on our bridges and overpasses. And even a small amount of rain can get dangerous because the oily residue on the streets and highways gets slippery when mixed with a misty rain.

Fortunately, I made it home safely and my car and body thanks me. One badly broken right humerus bone requiring surgery, a steel plate and ten screws is enough injury for me. Even though it was in 2007, when it's cold, it reminds me I'd just as soon not break another bone ever.

We even let our schools out early and send children home. Mainly because with even a small amount of snow or ice and no snow plows, a large number of kids live in suburban or even country areas and it's too dangerous to take a chance with a bus load of kids.

So everyone laughs at us but we're just not equipped to handle it and besides all that, we freeze to death when the temperatures get below fifty. Our blood is way too thin for those temperatures. However, it's not unusual to see a female in short shorts, a sweatshirt hoodie and cowboy boots heading into the bank or the grocery store. Yesterday, it was 35 degrees and windy and I saw a man with walking shorts on. I imagine these folks are transplanted from Minnesota or New Hampshire or Alaska and 35° just is a nice cool day for them. Bless their little hearts.

Sorry my report isn't very long today. I have a sore typing finger. I got a nasty cut on the knuckle of my right index finger and it's much better but typing is aggravating it. But, you say, I saw you posting on Facebook, Jan, what's with that? When I use my phone or my tablet, I use a stylus and it doesn't hurt my fingers. This blog note has to be written on my laptop and that entrails typing.

Did anyone pick up my malapropism in that last sentence? I always thought malapropisms came directly from Mrs. Malaprop in the Broadway play "The Rivals." I suppose that play happened to make malapropisms more widely known but Mark Twain used them and even William Shakespeare wrote a few in his plays. I have no idea where that bit of trivia came from but malapropisms have been on my mind today. Go figure.

Okay, class, off to soak my right index finger in ice.


  1. Good morning, Jan, and happy unbirthday, as noted by Humpty Dumpty in one of the Alice stories.

    Funny, my eye skipped over the ‘entrails’ until halted by your note. I didn’t realize Mrs. Malaprop came from Broadway; I knew the delightful character from high school plays. Mrs. Malaprop lives on!

  2. Glad you're okay, Jan. And if you want to see how bad people can drive when there's just the slightest drizzle on come to LA. It'll freak you out ;) . I missed the entrails too. But looking back, it's pretty funny.

  3. Caught the entrails, Jan, and as a born and bred Canadian, am also smiling at the inch or two of ice or snow.

    Apparently, my pioneer ancestors quite liked the winter in Canada. 1- they didn't have much work to do in the winter compared to the other seasons, and 2- they could get around easily with horse and sleigh.

  4. Happy Unbirthday from where we do know how to drive in ice, snow, and rain (South Dakota) but sometimes we wimp out, too.

    Actually, Miss Malaprop is from The Rivals, by Richard Brinsley Sheridan, which was written in 1775. So Shakespeare used them, Sheridan perfected them, and Twain (as he himself would have admitted) stole them. :)

    Stay safe, everyone! A big one's coming!

  5. As a transplanted Georgia boy living the past thirty years in the frozen north, Jan, I can say with some authority that no one can drive on ice. Snow, yes...ice, good luck. Maybe if you've got tire chains and a six ton vehicle with three low gears, but that's it. Okay, a bull dozer or tank might do the job, but it would entrail a lot of luck.

  6. Apparently snow interfering with flights: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2015/03/02/passengers-trapped-on-tarmac-for-more-than-8-hours-before-plane-takes-off/

  7. Eve, I didnt realize The Rival was written that long agp. I knew it was from Mrs. Malaprop because my husband had seen the play sometime in the early 50s. And I somehow got the notion the play was written in the early 20s or 30s. Thanks for correcting me.

  8. Jan, I'm a transplanted Coloradoan living in E. Texas-a “Yankee” as someone called me when I lived in South Texas. It’s true that Texans can’t drive in snow or rain, but go north to Idaho or Colorado in the winter and watch the idiots whizz by in their 4-wheel drives and you’ll find they can’t drive on it either. They’re the ones you usually find sitting off the road in a ditch somewhere. I got a chuckle out of your post. Thanks, Jan.

  9. We get snow and ice here in Kansas every winter, and no, they don't know how to drive here either. Someone from Alaska told me they don't know how to drive on the ice there either!!


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