We’ve seen some abnormally mild winters this and last year. Right now, at the tail end of February, I can see dead grass in spots in my yard and the sheet of ice usually known as our back walkway is more like a slushway. Of course, under that slush is a layer of ice waiting to take one of us down.
Somewhat painful frivolity aside, ice has become quite a teacher.
It Reminds Us to Slow Down – Or Else
Last week, I started a new time job within walking distance of my home.
I had scheduled a cab for the first day to ensure I wouldn’t be late. I had anxiety dreams the entire night before that day, but I was up, dressed and ready by the time the cab was scheduled to arrive. It didn’t show up.
That morning, we had freezing fog. Oh yes, people from warmer climates, that is a thing.
We’ve been having warmer than usual temperatures, which meant the surface of the ground isn’t as cold as it usually is this time of year. That early morning, the air was below freezing. When the fog hit the untreated asphalt, it froze into a thin sheen of nearly invisible ice.
According to the lady I’d spoken with at the cab company, that ice was why my ride was a no show.
I couldn’t wait any longer, so I cancelled the taxi and took off at a run.
I ripped up one of my palms when I fell, but otherwise I was miraculously unhurt. I walked, very carefully, the rest of the way there. I ended up being 20 minutes late on my first day. Great impression, right?
My dyslexia often has me feeling like a round peg being forced into a square hole. The culture in which I live tells me that I must be perfect at all times, especially as a woman. Being a person means I’ll never fully conform to any of those cultural ideals.
There’s something about suddenly sprawling flat on my back that reminds me of my humanity. Plan ahead, but don’t freak out when plans they don’t work out. No one’s perfect. There’s nothing wrong with that.
Making the Most of Our Environment
Back when I was cusping on womanhood, I studied Aikido for about 7 years. One of the hallmarks of that martial art is of using your opponent’s force to your advantage. You never actively attack, but you use your environment, their momentum and physics to protect yourself.
I’ve never had to use the skills learned in an actual fight, but the principles have helped me avoid several physical confrontations.
Around this time several years ago, I was walking home from a different job and came across two girls who were around 17 or 18 years old. These kids were looking for a fight. When they saw me, they began following me and yelling threats.
I don’t know what they were dealing with at the time, and quite frankly, I don’t care. I may not want to hurt anyone, but my compassion runs out when you actively threaten me.
While I walked, I observed they wore fashion boots with three to four inch tall heels. I wore hiking boots. Without slowing down, I made my way over a sheet of ice on the walkway, since I was already used to those conditions.
One of them fell and her friend couldn’t stop laughing at her. They’d completely forgotten about me, which was exactly what I wanted. They were obviously not hurt badly, so I just continued on my way.
Ice is the great equalizer. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you can do, you’ll still fall if you don’t pay attention to what’s underneath you. It’s up to each of us to decide what to do with that knowledge.