How pretty! I am driving to work for the last time before Christmas, and God has been out overnight with his snow-spray and glitter, decorating the landscape. The countryside is a real, live Christmas card, all frosty white and glimmering and shimmering and glittery.
How festive! The radio is playing back-to-back jingly fa-la-la songs, and I crank up the volume and sing along cheerfully, smiling broadly at every fellow motorist I meet. A wee robin perches on a frost-dusted hedge, and the morning sun glows orangely in my wing mirror.
How perfect! Everything around me shines with a dazzling white sheen, and the very road ahead sparkles like fairy dust. I feel a great surge of love for all of creation, and sigh contentedly as I turn left on to the road where my workplace awaits.
As Rio the Clio, quite independently, continues to turn left after I have finished doing so, it occurs to me belatedly that second gear might have been a good idea. “Crap!” I exclaim suddenly, as we spin merrily on the pretty glittery surface. Words of wisdom from wiser friends flood my brain in a split second, having been stored there previously for just such an occasion as this. Don’t brake! they say calmly. Steer into the skid!
An inner battle takes place between these recalled snippets of advice and my small reserve of common sense, which points out – albeit slightly less calmly – that if I steer into the skid I will just drive nicely over the hedge and land in someone’s back yard. I make an executive decision and turn right. Rio continues to turn left. “Crap, CRAP!!!” I shriek panickily. Both common sense and words of wisdom fly out the window and I yank the steering wheel furiously in both directions. Happily, Rio the Clio turns at the last second before entering the hedge. Less happily, she slides gracefully sideways and veers over to the other side of the road.
“Crap, crap, CRAAAAAAAAAAP!!!!!!!!” is actually all I can think of to say, despite having a much larger store of appropriate words than you might imagine. The hedge is no longer my immediate problem, as I reckon I have approximately 5 seconds before the approaching truck is upon me. Rio is whirling around like an ice skater on drugs, and I might as well be sitting on the roof knitting a scarf, for all the use I am in the driving seat.
Finally, into my frazzled brain pops the sagest piece of advice I have ever heard. It was once spoken by Homer Simpson, and is simply this: Note to self – Stop Doing Anything. I sit very still, apart from the involuntary trembling, and realise that – yes! – the car has slowed down and glided back on to the correct side of the road. We are even pointing in the right direction. With a shaky sigh, I sheepishly allow Rio the Clio to skid into the gateway, slide along the lane, and come to a gentle halt in the car park. I lay my head on the steering wheel.
Stupid, sparkly, frosty, glittery roads.