Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Easy on the Ice

Icy road alerts on the news were enough to get me going.  I don't "do" ice. I am the perfect example of gravity. The moment I place my toes on any slick surface, I spin like a top and go down.

Whoaaaa! This could be you (or me) if you're not careful.

I left for work a bit later the next morning to be safe and though the roads were treacherous (the newscasters' favorite descriptive word for bad road conditions,) I arrived at work intact. A colleague had messaged me and warned that the roads weren't too bad, but she had trouble navigating the parking lot. "It's a mess, so be careful!" 

Harkening back to a morning years ago, I arrived in our ice-covered parking lot at 8 a.m. A bed of ice had been layered with new moisture that can only be described as gelatinous slime. How would I ever make it into the building? With a lump in my throat, I phoned my colleague, then sat behind the wheel, frozen in time. My friend emailed my faculty, "Eileen is in the parking lot." Finally one of them came out for the rescue just as the ice became a bit more traversable. 

On this morning, I thought, why not be efficient? I'll reach out to my employer's public safety department. A good idea, right? I explained I couldn't walk the ice. "Could an officer come out and drive me to the building?" I begged. The dispatcher was like, "huh?"  I was tempted to share my age with hopes of persuasion, but I had already sufficiently self-humiliated.

 Don't Let This Photo Fool You - Treacherous

When the officer arrived, he parked next to my vehicle. "Wait a minute," I told him, aren't you going to drive me? " The officer, we'll call him " Officer Dan," informed that public safety is not permitted to transport faculty or staff, only students.   

I knew Officer Dan. I'd met up with him on several occasions before. He has yelled at me for 1) not having an updated parking sticker and 2) illegal parking (but I had permission! I did!)  I had always thought of him as a mean guy and a bully. So, naturally, I hated him. Ever since I was 18 years old and had my first experience being pulled over by the town cop because he thought I looked too "short" to be driving, I've had a hate/hate affair with police, and agreed with the "Cops are Pigs" slogan popular during those years.

But Officer Dan listened to my laments about the icy lot. He extended his arm, and I had no choice but to latch on. Up the steps we walked like a winter-worn couple, he in his dark Carhartt-like jacket, me in my scruffy Uggs. Mortified, I had been reduced to relying on a walking/talking/breathing college public safety officer to help me to my destination.  Interesting, the steps and walkway weren't as icy as I had imagined. And Officer Dan was gentle and polite. He made a joke about us both falling and him landing on me, and yeah, that's always a pretty amusing scenario. He didn't let go until we reached the large front doors of Bicentennial Hall.  I had stopped worrying whether any of my friends - if ANYONE - had seen me holding onto a cop with all my might. Have a nice day, Officer Dan.

Ice Doesn't Seem to Scare Students

1 comment:

  1. Slip Sliding Away by Paul Simon was playing in my head while I was reading this. Thank you for this post, and for reminding me of the 3rd reason why I had to leave Vermont.