Opinion piece by Susan Delacourt

Hay’s Daze: Are you a member of the ‘Drive-Away’ club?

Remember when it was cold enough to freeze the nuts off a steel bridge? Remember when it was so cold that hockey pucks shattered when they hit the boards? Do you remember suddenly having to plug in the block heater in your car? Good, because that was just last week.

We seniors like to dramatize stories of the good old days with ten foot high snow banks and walking 4.5 miles to school uphill both ways in life-sucking temperatures of -20 F-degrees which everybody knows was much worse than C-degrees. Well, we all know those good old days visited us again recently. Maybe for once it was OK that we were all mostly Covid-captured, hunkering down in our homes with nowhere to go anyway.

But even with pandemic due diligence, most of us still have to use our vehicles when Mother Nature decides to leave the freezer door open during February. And if you’re like me, you still need to get in the car and drive around, searching for some social sanity.

So since that’s about my only form of entertainment these days, I make a point of going for a daily drive. I’ll go down to the dog park and sit and eat my lunch and watch the happy people with their happy dogs frolicking around and I’ll feel sad and wish I still had a dog. So, that’s fun.

Or, more often than not, I’ll just drive. Drive to a place called “Nowhere In Particular,” radio cranked up, heater cranked up, the freezing Great White North outside drifting harmlessly by as the icy-cruel world turns slowly beneath my snow-crunching tires.

As the song says: “When you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.”

Anyway, the other night both Rotten Kids happened to be home and the one RK, the daughter one, needed a ride back to her place so the other RK, the son one, said I’ll come along and so the three of us bundled up and shuffled out to the formerly frozen car which was now pretty toasty on account of I had started it much earlier with my remote clicker. And so we rattled off into the dark frigid streets in our comfy transportation pod.

But back home when I went to plug my car back in, something was missing. My first thought was: Some bozo stole our extension cord! But no. Three guesses and the first two don’t count, as they used to say.

Yes, of course, I was the bozo and I had driven off with my car still plugged in. Oh, the really long cord was still plugged into the house, but the one connecting the car, the expensive shorter one with the little light that comes on in the plug was completely AWOL.

Hands up if you’re also a member of the “Drive-Away Club!”

Since it was minus 100 out there I just muttered a few choice phrases and tramped into the house. “Don’t you think you could find it?” the Better Half remarks, casually. So back out I stomp into the dark and stormy night and I drive two blocks. Nothing. I return, even more peeved.

“Did you re-trace your drive the whole way?” the BH asks nonchalantly. Mumbling incoherently, I trudge back out to the car, off into the frigid perilous night once again, knowing I will never find the dumb extension cord that I took for a joyride across town.

But guess who was right. There it was. The last turn to the RK’s apartment. Lying on the road like a frozen snake. The fangs a bit bent but still working fine.

Until I do it again next time.

Harley Hay is a Red Deer author and filmmaker.

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