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Vail Daily column: What’s all this beautiful white stuff?

There are a few facts I know about the recent change in our collective environment.

It was sudden, for some reason completely unexpected, and is somehow directly connected to one’s ability to drive a vehicle.

When I left Dallas last week it was 75 degrees and people were driving to the golf course in clean cars.



Upon returning to DIA it was 6 degrees and people were sliding around in their magnesium chloride-covered cars like a Texan in scotch-guarded jeans at the top of the gondola trying to keep his cowboy hat from flying away.

And to add insult to injury, just before my trek to Texas folks around here were beginning their annual rant about “never seeing it this warm this late in the fall” and “how are we going to survive if it doesn’t snow and the tourists don’t show!”



The panic was predictably pathetic.

But either way, why do so many of us lose the ability to drive the moment the snow arrives?

Driving home from Denver that night I actually counted 18 cars and trucks in ditches on the side of Interstate 70 and a few sitting lonely in the middle.



And this was during a three-hour drive from 10 p.m. until about 1 a.m., so just think how many more were there that I could not see.

As George Carlin once asked, “Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?”

I’ve always wondered just exactly what it is that certain people are trying to prove by showing how much faster they can drive in the snow than those of us with an IQ higher than the snow depth.

Every single one of us have had some moron come screaming past on snow packed roads during a storm, and for the briefest of moments, we find ourselves wishing to see said moron upside down in the ditch around the next corner.

If you can’t admit it, then you’re only lying to yourself.

We’re not wishing for brain damage or permanent injury of any sort (most times), but for the chance — just once —to pull over next to the upside down vehicle, roll down the window and shout, “Smooth move, Exlax!” or whatever you deem age appropriate.

And then slowly drive away, laughing loud enough for Mr. Cranial-Rectal Inversion to hear, thus turning his life around from being such a jackass on the roadway.

But then the fantasy ends and we return to keeping both hands on the wheel and our eyes glued straight ahead.

It would just be nice if everyone understood no amount of four-wheel drive will slow you down on an icy surface, and braking on a downhill turn will always cause your vehicle to fishtail.

It’s basic physics.

Facebook, Twitter and texting can always wait as well.

But to be sure everyone understands my relatively obscure point, realize the snow, the cold, the dumps of beautiful white gold, the back-breaking shoveling and the sliding around everywhere we go evokes one particular emotion that I sincerely hope never goes away.

Pure, unadulterated happiness.

Let the winter begin!

Richard Carnes, of Edwards, writes weekly. He can be reached at poor@vail.net.


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