Slippin’ and slidin’


Brian Golden

My post-Progress weekend was, how shall I say, pretty unremarkable for the most part. Besides catching up on a few winks I had very little planned, just a playoff football party with friends who live, unfortunately for me, at the top of Polkville hill.

While the drive up to my buddy’s house was your standard slip-and-slide around an icy corner or two, it was far from dangerous and even a little fun. It took me back to the days of my stepbrother and his Chevrolet Monte Carlo, taking turns spinning donuts in various parking lots in and around the city. The trip home, however, was another story entirely.

Following a disappointing Baltimore Ravens loss to the AFC Championship-bound Pittsburgh Steelers (a team I just love to hate), I ventured outside to start up my little Dodge Neon. The Green Machine just runs better in this cold weather with a little time to warm up, I’ve noticed. I was also instantly aware of the freshly fallen snow covering the roadway and I was a little concerned with the driving conditions. Sometimes, I hate it when I’m right.

Figuring County Road 33 would be my safest route home in the rapidly deteriorating conditions, I crawled behind the wheel and slowly made my way to the top of the hill. What followed – if I hadn’t been absolutely terrified the entire time – was actually quite amusing in hindsight.

I knew I was in trouble the moment I made that fateful right turn onto Polkville hill, and it was disheartening to see the unplowed status of the road. Realizing that the life of the Green Machine lay in my hands, I threw it into first gear and, at five to ten miles per hour, sledded my way into the city. I say “sledded” because that’s literally what I was forced to do in order to make it home.

There was zero traction as I slid my way past the Norwich-Guilford Road, and the Green Machine was being pulled this way and that by the slushy, snowy conditions. All I could do was continue on my way, applying gentle pressure to the brakes and using my front tires as an impromptu forward rudder. I hate to say it, but I’ve been in similar conditions a time or two and I’m extremely grateful for my dad’s tutelage on utilizing an automobile as a make-shift bobsled.

Needless to say, I made it. I’d successfully navigated another wintery gauntlet and, though I was a bit shaky, I was safe. Of course now I’m thinking that, once the Green Machine gives out and I’m forced to buy a new vehicle, it may be in my best interest to find something with some all-wheel drive of some sort. Or at least some decent snow tires, because mine are shot.