I have lived in Ottawa for 15 years now, longer than I’ve lived anywhere else in my life, but somehow I’m still coming to terms with winter. I’m regularly annoyed when it snows before the end of November. I make jokes like “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a… lion.” As someone raised largely in the South, I mutter “April is the cruellest month” year after year when Ottawa April shows its capricious nature: freeze thaw freeze thaw; few things bloom and I often wonder if Spring will ever arrive.
I should know better. I should.
Despite all of this, I managed to be shocked this morning when I walked out to my car covered in a light layer of snow, and, underneath, the windshield slick with ice. For once, I was leaving vaguely on time, determined to get to school early enough to write this slice before students arrived. But winter had different ideas.
I swept my gloved hand along the seam of the top of the car door before I opened it so that none of the snow would fall on my seat. I half-sat on the front seat and turned the car on, followed by the front windshield heater, the back windshield heater and the seat heater. I groped on the floor for the now-broken scraper that I had decided didn’t need to be replaced this season because “it’s already March.”
Then, I spent the requisite three or four minutes brushing and scraping the car – not quite enough to make me late, really, but just enough to remind me that I should not be surprised by winter. The broken scraper meant that I couldn’t quite reach everything, so I drove to work with the mom minivan mohawk: the narrow strip of snow that not-quite-tall enough moms end up leaving in the middle of the roof of their minivans.
Pretty sure I still won’t buy a new scraper this season. After all, it’s nearly Spring.