January, 2014: getting jiggly with ice

Imagine Johnny Carson, doing his monologue on the Tonight show: “It was so cold…it was so cold…”

“How cold was it?” shouts someone.

“It was so cold that my hamstrings jiggled when I scraped the ice off my car because I was in a hurry to get in out of the cold.”

Okay, it doesn’t work as well as Carson’s original material, but that was me last week, jiggling in the light of the sunrise, scraping my car windows as if I was about to strike gold. And the frost on my car has mutated. It’s a strain that has developed immunity to ordinary methods of removal. Lemme ‘splain.

There’s the thin layer you can melt with your breath; the scattered, dirty, pretty bits you debate about scraping because you can kind of see through them; the thick layer that gets your blood pumping when you scrape and is so satisfying to cut through; and the super tough, super thick kind that you can’t chip off with a screwdriver. I’ve tried. This one requires thirty minutes of running the engine…and then a screwdriver works.

But this new kind is worse than the others. It taunts you.

See, it looks like the thin layer that comes off in pretty curly bits. One scrape, and then you think it’s the thick kind that comes off with extra effort. And some of it does; but underneath it is a layer that defies scraping. I think it has been cross-bred with moss, slug slime, and superglue, because it resisted my every attempt to scrape it up. I finally got desperate, and began to use the corner of my scraper. It worked, but was more headache than relief. It scraped off pencil-thin streaks, and I scraped all over in my haste to avoid hypothermia, so I had a few pencil lines in my window to use in my drive to work. My drive involves avoiding oncoming traffic on a two lane country road with potholes and no shoulder, so visibility is key to maintaining your car’s integrity. I had more work to do.

I tried to scrape right next to a pencil streak, but ended up scraping the same streak. This makes it take a LOT LONGER. And being frantic because of the cold didn’t help. Since I couldn’t scrape a clear area, I did the next thing panicked, half-frozen drivers do: I scraped a cross-hatched pattern – vertical pencil streaks crossing horizontal ones. Brillant! Not. Now, I had a confusing web of streaks to try to see through as I dodged potholes and semis. I gave up, and went inside while my car warmed up. I was late, but I lived to tell the tale. And I plan to buy a new scraper, maybe a battery powered one with the word “industrial” in the name.


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