This morning I drove from Columbus to Cincinnati during a raging snowstorm only to learn, a few miles from the Cincinnati outskirts, that the hearing would be rescheduled for a later day. So, I promptly turned around and drove back to Columbus. It was a white-knuckle drive both ways.
The roads were snow-covered, large snowflakes were falling, and there was a stiff breeze. Still, long-distance driving has its lulling effects. You begin by driving slowly and carefully, and then you gradually, inevitably increase your speed as the traction seems solid and nothing bad happens. The danger, of course, is that it only takes a small slick spot to turn your car — going a measly 60 miles an hour, well below the speed limit — into an out-of-control projectile, skidding down the roadway and probably spinning, besides. It only takes a brief instant of feeling like your car has lost contact with the road to make your bowels clench and force a few fervent prayers (mixed with epithets) from your lips. Just as there are no atheists in foxholes, so there are no atheists in cars driving miserably down interstate highways in snowstorms, trying to keep their cars on the two tracks in the slow lane, their ice-covered wiper blades slapping but failing to clear off a windshield that is coated with ice and snow and muck thrown by the tractor-trailer speeding by in the passing lane.
I tried to take it easy both ways and managed to get to the Orient area, just south of Columbus, when I saw a series of tractor-trailer/car accidents. There were cars and truck strewn across the roadway and median as if they had been tossed there by an angry child. Traffic halted completely and I thought, as I often do in such situations, whether I could have been involved in the pileup if I hadn’t stopped for gas and a cheeseburger. After a time traffic started up again, and as I drove past a few jack-knifed tractor-trailers I promised to drive carefully the rest of the way. Fortunately, no one seemed to be hurt, and I was able to stick to my careful driving promise for the rest of the drive.
When I got home tonight I poured myself a glass of wine that tasted very sweet indeed.