Leaving our lumps

All of us have taken our lumps at some time in our lives: making a mistake at work, having an unfortunate slip of the tongue, or in extreme cases, being on the wrong end of a moving fist. With luck, the damage is fleeting and temporary. Snow covered roads create a different phenomenon: leaving our lumps.

Parking lots look like the aftermath of a minor avalanche. Packed ice and slush chunks ranging from fist sized to some that are just smaller than the iceberg that sank the Titanic occupy parking spaces, hidden by behemoth four-wheel drive trucks crookedly parked in every other spot. Of course, if there isn’t a small glacier in the spot, there is a shopping cart instead…or sometimes both. It adds to an increasing stressful shopping experience, which becomes worse between Thanksgiving and mid-January.

These lumps add a level of suspense to freeway driving, too. Even if the road is free from ice, an ice boulder dislodging from the vehicle in front of you results either in an explosion of slush and ice chunks or a rock-like object bouncing and skidding on the roadway. Leaving a lump can cause someone to take some lumps.

Minneapolis chose not to declare a snow removal emergency November 10, the metro area’s first snowstorm of the season. The side streets in the Uptown and East Calhoun neighborhoods have ridges of ice and packed snow because the plows had to swerve around street parked cars. Parallel parking a mid-sized sedan in a residential neighborhood with narrow streets is a challenge. The ice berms and basketball sized frozen wheel well detritus add several extra layers of complexity. A three day stretch of above freezing weather is forecast for Friday through Sunday. Perhaps the warmer weather will improve the streets there.

Next Thursday is Thanksgiving here in the United States. If the weather holds up, I hope to spend time with my family. If the weather is fickle, I will attempt to make a dinner here, complete with the requisite lumpy gravy and clumpy potatoes. I guess I will have my lumps and eat them, too.

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