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Daze of My Life: Betwixt and Between
Daze of My Life
Betwixt and Between
Presuming you have some place to go, some appointment at a specific time, not hour, to keep; and further presuming that you need to drive a car to get there rather than publicly transporting yourself, the chances of you arriving there on time are practically impossible. Oh, you'll arrive all right, but at what time - and at what cost, figuratively speaking - is any body's guess.
If you allow 30 minutes, as an example, for what should be a 30-minute trip, you'll be late. If you don't allow 30 minutes but instead anticipate the inevitable traffic delays so prevalent in the Washington DC Metropolitan area, and leave early, earlier even than you think would necessary, all things considered, you'll likely arrive on time, but the time you arrive will be so early, you'll wonder why you left so early. On the contrary, if you leave late, there is absolutely no way you'll arrive on time, in time, any time; heck, you may not even arrive in time to see the person or persons with whom your appointment was scheduled on their way out to their next appointment. Either way, leaving early, on time or late, the only thing that is predictable about your trip will be its unpredictability and its dissimilarity with any previous effort - or plan - made to reach this same destination at this or any other time for whatever reason you've had to do so.
The getting-to-and-from plan is sort of like a snowflake, no two are alike. Oddly enough, though, both the trip and the snowflake do have something in common, they both leave you out in the cold. And speaking of cold, God help you if there's snow in the forecast, snow in the air or worse, snow on the ground when you're appointment is scheduled, then you can forget all about the semi reasonable, but predictable, unpredictability I mentioned earlier. Now, or rather at that point, all bets are off; and all time tables, real or imagined, are 100 percent irrelevant.
The effect of the snow is one thing and a very significant thing at that, but the effect the snow has on your fellow drivers is quite another thing entirely. And in that entirety, your life. at least your life behind the wheel is no longer your own. It is everybody else's and whatever expectation you had of arriving alive or driving gently, however well meaning and well posted, is completely gone.
You are now driving to survive and to get wherever you're going in one piece, and hopefully of sound mind and body, as well. But let's be honest, the chance of that happening is as likely as the weathermen being able to accurately forecast when and where "the wintry mix" will switch from rain to sleet to freezing rain to snow to ice and back to snow to freezing rain to sleet and then finally to rain again.
So whether you have an appointment or not, whether the "wintry mix" is predictable or not, stock your car with provisions and take solace in the fact that, wherever you're not going, no one else is going there either. Certainly getting to and from is worse when it snows, but in the Washington DC Metropolitan area, when it rains, it pours, and regardless of where you're going or when, or how many times you've been there before, leaving early, on time or late will make no difference in the eventual outcome: you'll get there when you get there, not a minute sooner.
Kenneth B. Lourie is a regionally syndicated columnist who resides in Burtonsville, MD.
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