The Midnight Drive

snow, glorious snow.

snow, glorious snow.

Random Observation/Comment #106: The first sight of snow transitions my state of mind from beach umbrellas and bikinis to candy canes and gingerbread houses.  My cravings for ice cream and watermelon are replaced by dreams of hot chocolate by a warm fireplace.  All the relaxing songs playing in my head on repeat become Christmas carols and corny holiday movie references – “I really can’t stay – But, baby, it’s cold outside…” or “I feel it in my fingers, I feel it in my toes…”  It’s freezing, but it warrants more reasons for hugs.  I imagine myself coming back from a long day of skiing and eating bread bowl chili.  That feeling of taking off those ski boots just brings a warm chill throughout my body.  Happiness comes with winter.

It was 2AM and we had already been on the road for five hours.  There would be five more hours of driving ahead of us, but we were not racing against time.  These long drives are always filled with the most interesting topics of conversation, and no matter how much my butt cheeks fell asleep, I was happy to close my eyes and listen.  If the songs on the easy track playlists didn’t spark an interesting conversation, the sight of a half mangled deer carcass on the side of the road would do the trick.  Boys will be boys, and our group’s conversations definitely explore the full range of vocabulary involving sexual adventures.  I often step back from our discussion and wonder how we reached these ridiculous topics of transsexuals and midgets.

All of the normal conversations and abnormal conversations continued through the night, but I think our main priority was not dying.  The first sight of snow in Pennsylvania made us ecstatic.  We all shared that cyclic flood of memories and could barely stay in our seats.  We stopped at a gas station to refuel and pick up food, but we all knew it was to actually feel what our eyes helped imagine.  The cliché flat foot slide across the building snow mounds made me smile.  I would have made snowballs and thrown them around playfully if my hands weren’t already numb.  The fact that I cared enough about my health to not do something fun made me feel a little bit old.

Memories of winter accumulate as the years pass, but it seems my excitement level deteriorates every year as well.  I have more experiences of happy Christmases and New Years, but I just don’t feel it’s as significant as I used to.  When I was five-years-old, I probably only remembered the winter season the year before, yet I almost certainly screamed and jumped knowing there would be a holiday.  Now, my happy dances have all subsided to a different excitement.  It seems all too material.  I think the idea of school vacations and Christmas presents don’t really apply to me anymore.  All I need is that special bonding experience to make me see how far we’ve all gone.  It’s a time to share and a time to truly remove ourselves from the routine.

Anyway, these holiday cheers were quickly replaced with nervous hand-holding when we lost sight of the road.  The blanket of snow and ice left us paving our own paths.  We carefully followed large trucks to avoid that grinding sound foreshadowing a fatal accident.  I kept my eyes glued to the scene in front of me as if any of my actions would save my life.  I did not hold the wheel – all I could do is pray.  That dizzying sight of snow illuminated by the car headlights was mesmerizing.  I know I probably couldn’t do anything that would prevent an accident if it were to happen, but I felt that another eye on the road could make some difference.  Perhaps I was just taking the opportunity to prepare myself for a tragic death.  Even though I knew nothing was in my control, looking out that windshield was my search for knowledge.  I stared at the world unfolding before me as a spectator.

The snow falls in such an odd path.  Staring at it long enough, it looks as if the white dots are floating upwards.  As the windshield disturbed the light drift, a new pattern emerged to my perspective.  When I stared through the sunroof, the snow rushing over the car reminded me of a real life windows’ space travel screensaver.  I wish I could have seen the flying toasters with wings.  The hint of danger in the air kept us all awake.  It would be a long night.

~See Lemons Welcome the winter