One must admire a city like Seattle for its principles. It still allows those awful plastic grocery bags as legal carrying devices, not yet having taken up the mantle of Earth-savingness like its nearish cousin, San Francisco. And it does continue to serve soft drinks and fizzy pop from automatic vending machines, a no-no in ‘Frisco as well these days. But the powers that be have put their collective feet down when it comes to salting the roads when it snows, given the proximity to the Puget Sound and accompanying Entire Pacific Ocean.
If only Seattle weren’t on a series of steep hills.
I look out any of the windows of my apartment and sure enough, it’s snowing. So far it’s pretty in that things-look-cleaner-when-they’re-freshly-snow-covered way, as if we’re all in a snow globe and some child on the Asperger’s spectrum has just shaken us, and oh, excuse me, that’s the frustrating end to St. Elsewhere, not real life. Soon enough the traffic and exhaust and street debris will mar the surface and then snow merely becomes another impediment to safe travel.
I’ve got great tires on our car, installed last summer at the Walla Walla Les Schwab, and my only complaint is that they didn’t put all of our hub caps back on properly, so one popped off the car the next day, never to be found by us again. And those tiny pieces of metal on the CR-V are $70. I’ll just demand a free tire rotation sometime and call it a day. The point is, my car is good to go, even if the other drivers and their cars are not. I’ll add in some extra buffer space when I can and hope it all goes well.
Walking around is another matter altogether. I arrived in Emerald City sans boots of any kind, so it’s either sneakers, dress shoes that by definition, have no traction, or my fuzzy slippers. I almost would plan on slippering around the city but they’ll get wet and mushy in four steps, so that’s out.
Another obvious choice is to forgo traveling a pied while it’s snow-covered or icy, but as this is Seattle, a haven for all things precipitating, I’d be condemning myself to the tiny indoors for the rest of our habitation here. So I have to walk outside at some point.
I know, I should have more confidence in myself. I’ve only fallen down at age 7, when an 8th grader landed on top of me, tripped countless times as a teenager and college student, on the black ices of New Jersey and New York, broken my ankle in three places by falling when roller skating, and fallen down something like 60 stairs, when added together for dramatic effect. Eleven broken bones and I don’t know how many sprains and strains. And the one time my body gave out on me and I didn’t fall down, at my wedding reception, I tore my ACL and meniscus in my left knee. Let’s just say I’m not even in the same building as the picture of grace. She’s over in the National Portrait Gallery and I’m a calendar of Thailand in a greasy restaurant in Baltimore.
Perhaps I overthink all of this. Concrete isn’t exactly a friction-free surface, and if I just pay attention to each footfall, I will do all right. If I start sliding on a hill I’ll just begin walking laterally. Sure, that’s it. Hopefully my friends won’t mind if this adds 27 minutes to our walking time. It’s all about who one’s with, not what one’s doing, after all. Right?