Here is a story that pretty much sums up the whole of this winter:
After driving up to Columbus on Saturday in four inches of snow, or five, or maybe twelve–it’s hard to keep track at this point–I parked my car on the street in front of the church next door. It’s not my usual parking spot, but I was tired of the overland expedition that pulling into my regular parking spot has become what with the permanent hills of ice and snow.
On Monday morning, my husband was up early and saw the yellow signs in front of the church for a funeral. Being the very nice sort of man he is, he went and moved my car. He had to move it all the way around the block because pretty much every spot on the street is covered by the above-mentioned permanent hills of ice and snow.
When we were ready to head up to work, he gave me a ride to my car. As we pulled up to where it was parked, we saw a young girl who appeared to be sitting on the sidewalk in front of one of the houses. This seemed like an odd thing to do, as the sidewalks are covered with their own permanent hills of ice and snow. But she was a teenager, and teenagers do many inexplicable things.
As I walked up to my car, I saw that she wasn’t so much sitting on the sidewalk, as kind of sprawled there. She had her iPhone in hand and was maybe texting someone. “Are you okay?” I asked, beginning to think this was perhaps more than a strange adolescent affectation, sitting in the snow.
“Can you help me up?” she asked.
The poor child was sitting on a good 3 by 9 foot patch of ice that had formed as water ran off the roof the night before and then froze. She’d fallen on the ice, and clearly couldn’t get back up by herself because it was too slick. Perhaps also her shoes weren’t the best for traction on ice, but as a parent I’ve learned you cannot expect children to make practical shoe or clothing decisions, regardless of the weather.
I went over to help her and after several tries, we got her upright again. She was okay–no bones were broken. She was just a little dazed, and the look on her face as someone came out of the house to help her back inside seemed to pretty much sum up the whole of this winter for me. Disbelief and confusion. Could this really be happening? Could a young and healthy young woman really find herself fallen and unable to get back up? Then reduced to asking some stranger on the street for help?
Yes, yes, to all of that. That is exactly the kind of winter it has been. The only thing to do in the face of it is to keep helping each other up.
And perhaps wear better shoes.