Saturday, April 9, 2016

Tail Pipe Drivers and Glare

Don't tell Nick I said so, but for a half hour today, I took my life in my hands. Or rather, my life was in Nick's hands, not mine.

So far, he can't get into a parking spot without hitting virtual cars on either side. Not angled parking, not perpendicular parking and definitely not parallel parking. That's not what's risking our lives. It's the stop signs that are dangerous and interminable pauses as Nick decides it's safe to crawl out onto a cross street. Well, to tell you the truth, it's other drivers. Thankfully, we only had one angry driver behind us and, though he honked his horn, flashed his brights, and tailgated like a butt-licker, he didn't actually hit us before I had Nick pull off the side of the road to let him pass. In another life, that person who posed as a black ring around Uranus would be pulling his head out of someone else's tailpipe not that of a new driver turning onto the highway for the first time. There will be karma though. I'm certain that this guy is aimed to squeeze himself into a tailpipe soon. I just hope it's not my son's. After that, we got off the highway, even on the stretches that have a 30mph limit.

But then there was glare.

You don't notice glare when you've been driving your filthy car for the past twelve years, but when your boy can't see through the glaze on the inside of the windshield, you both can panic. My job was to sound like I wasn't panicked. We were driving up a steep hill with no guardrail and with little curves that hugged a hillside. Thankfully, the sun glared up the window for long enough that Nick hit the brakes and then we were out again, no longer visually impaired, and still on the pavement. Yay!

It reminded me of the time I neglected to clear the six inches of snow off the top of my Renault. About twenty minutes later, when I braked from 60mph on the Garden State Parkway to pause for an automatic toll, a six-inch thick sheet of snow slid down across my windshield. Wipers did nothing, wouldn't even move with the weight of it. I came to a swift but not too swift stop because I didn't want to get rear ended, prayed I wouldn't hit anything in the braking process, and then ran a Chinese fire drill around my car, swiftly scraping all the snow off my windshield as I ran. People in their cars on either side and behind me laughed as I worked. It made me laugh too, but I'm sure I looked a little crazy when I stood outside my car on the Garden State Parkway and laughed while my bloodstream was flooded with adrenaline. Adrenaline laughter is either creepy or crazy. Sometimes both.

After that, I never ignored what had originally been some ancient uncle's advice to clear snow away from the roof of my car as well as the actual windows. It's good advice. Believe me. I now know.

It's also good to periodically clean the inside of your windshield. I know that now too.

Do you know what that stuff is? It's poly-vinyl-chloride. It comes off of vinyl and cheap carpet in a gaseous form with heat and collects on glass as a thin opaque layer. The solution to poly-vinyl-chloride buildup on glass?


Vinegar works too. These days, I clean a lot with vinegar. It might be healthier. Either way, it's healthy not to have a gray glare on the inside of my windshield when Nick is at the wheel driving up a steep and winding road.

So, tomorrow before we drive anywhere, even on the relatively quiet streets of the next town over, I'm going to sit in one car after another until the windshields are all squeaky clean on the insides. I might clean my glasses too.

There's no sense in risking it since I'm going to keep my eyes open for our friendly neighborhood pipe cleaner. I don't want Nick to be anyone's hood ornament, even if he is moving slowly out onto the highway.

Thank you for listening, jb

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