Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, I didn’t have much chance to experience driving in snow and ice. By the time I got to my driving years, substantial snow was a once every third year kind of thing. There was one memorable week my senior year of college when we got a crapload of snow during finals. That wouldn’t have been so bad, except that my roommates and I had to move from one house to another in that same five day period. The driveway was icy and so packing the cars was nearly impossible, because everytime you tried to slide something into the back, your feet would slip out from underneath you. My entire body was black and blue when that move was finished.
We got some snow today in the Philadelphia area. Not a ton, but it was our first snowfall of the year that had any sticking power and by 5 pm the roads were covered in cocktail of grey slush and ice. All afternoon I kept checking the St. Joe’s website to see if my classes were still on, and kept coming up blank. At a little after 5 pm I packed up my bag and trudged downstairs to get my car.
The front desk clerk saw me leave and his eyebrows shot up as he asked, “You mean to tell me they didn’t cancel your class tonight? It’s awful out there!”
“Nope, I’ve got to go.” I gave him a resigned shoulder-high wave and headed to the garage.
It took 25 minutes to cover the amount of ground that normally takes 5. As I realized just how messy it was out there, I started calling my classmates, to confirm that we actually did have class and that I wasn’t driving out to school only to have to turn around again. I kept thinking about how treacherous it was going to be to drive home after class and nearly turned around right then. At 5:37, just as I had pulled onto West River Drive, Emily and Caitlin both called me back to announce that they had JUST* cancelled the evening classes.
I managed a deeply illegal U-turn and got home fairly easily, grateful that I wasn’t going to have to test my snowy driving skills after 9 pm on dark, frozen roads. The whole way home I kicked myself, wishing that I had listened to my inner voice a little earlier, when it was telling me that I shouldn’t be driving. Sometimes I fall into the trap of feeling like I should do certain things, even when I know deeply that it isn’t right for me. Tonight reminded me of the importance of listening to myself and knowing that my inner is a good guide.
*Who cancels night classes less than 45 minutes before the class starts in a program where nearly everyone commutes to the university? That seems to me to be a really stupid way of operating, because most of us would have had to already be on the road in order to get to class on time.