Sunday pm, 18 November
What was supposed to be a 2-hour journey turned out to be a complicated, nerve-wracking four hours on the road.
Complication no. 1 – we got lost.
Yes, we missed the turning. That’s what happens when a wife and a husband of opposing minds discuss business behind the wheel, add the ever confusing road signage system of Britain and you are in for a merry go round in roundabouts.
Complication no. 2 – the traffic
It’s like Edsa traffic in a UK motorway, the obvious differences are: British drivers stick to their lanes and car windows are clearly transparent. Are Pinoys still using those almost opaquey film on their windows? In Britain, their car windows are just that: car windows. there are no impediments, such that, you can even peek at what they are watching on their tv/video screens. The British treat their cars as their second homes so they fit them with the latest gizmos such as video screens the quantity of which depends on the number of family members or maximum of four. This is so that little jamie and big sister annie at the backseat would remain quiet as mice, thus, creating peace for everybody. On the other hand, one tv shared by two hyperactive kids is formula for child wrestling, or synchronized yelling! Daddy and mummy in the front seats would also have one each but daddy would have an extra toy in the form of a GPS navigation system, although this is not always a reliable tool to take you from point A to point C at the shortest distance as there are reports of vehicles getting stuck in the middle of a cattle farm or even in a dumpsite because they relied so much on their GPS!
So after an hour or two of turtle speed driving, negotiating a short patch of expressway, we finally got out of the gridlock realizing that there was nothing at all, no accident, no vehicle stalling which might have caused this bottleneck. i told you, it’s like Manila traffic!
Complication no. 3 – from snowflakes to white horror
All the elements of a snowstorm where present that night: it was freezing cold, it was heavily windy and the car thermometer registered a reading of 0degC.
At first, we were enjoying the thin flakes of snow swirling around us, like thin and tiny bits of cotton falling from the sky. Hurray! the first snow of the year, how exciting!
But then, the flakes were merely settling down – they were not melting at all – they were slowly blanketing the grassy sides of the motorway into whiteness. And as we drove, they got thicker and thicker! even the traffic signs were already heavily shielded with snow that we could no longer figure out where we were that moment! we were already guessing wildly whether to keep driving straight or turn right or left…then the snow were also starting to settle on the road surface of the expressway. that despite the constant movement of cars, they were not melting anymore!
Then chaos began. several cars were already stopping in the middle of the lanes! But it was better to stop than skid on ice! to skid is more dangerous, even fatal! and we were still about an hour away from home!
I was praying hard on my seat. Supposing the car suddenly stalled? are we going to spend the night out, in the car, in the middle of this snowstorm? I’ve seen on tv cars getting stuck on heavy snow, with no help coming, and the passengers ended up with frostbites that a thumb or a foot had to be amputated….all these grim scenes were starting to play on my brain!
Then suddenly, the road became clearer! The snow started to melt…hurray!
And we finally found our street!
Huh! the first snow of the year almost becoming a nightmare!