The Harbinger Online

On Thin Ice

Before SMSD called off school for a snow day on Jan. 11, my mom already had.

When I got home from soccer practice, I found her sitting intently on the couch, frowning down at the open FOX 4 Weather App on her iPad. With predicted snowflakes on the way and chances higher than 80% for freezing rain and ice, she forbid me from making the 12 minute journey down Mission road to SME the next morning.  While I was droning on about why I couldn’t miss my chemistry lesson and how my extra long work day in Harbinger would go to waste, she just shook her head. There was no way I was winning this snowball fight.

“I just want you to be safe,” my mom says from her plaid pajamas.

Fine. I guess it wouldn’t be so bad to sleep in and catch up on “This is Us”.

This isn’t the first time ice paranoia has taken over my household. In fact, it’s a common occurrence in the dead of winter.  When we got two inches of snow over winter break that turned into ice, my mom refused to use our brick front steps for at least two weeks; her back still hurting from two years ago when she fell on them.

The red steps are practically unrecognizable underneath the layer of white, beady ice melt that always seems to stick to the bottom of my Nikes. My mom hugs the white columns on our porch as if they’re part of our family  when going down our so called “icy steps.” And if she doesn’t have her black furry boots complete with the pom poms on the side, she doesn’t dare step outside.

Every time I left the house over winter break to meet my friends for coffee at Mclain’s Bakery or to  work on homework at T. Loft. , my phone would chime with a text from her reminding me to use the back door when I got home because the front steps were just too icy. Trust me, they weren’t — unless you consider a microscopic patch of liquid water to be unsafe.  

Despite all of the eye rolls I’ve given her when she brings up  the word “ice”, my mom kind of has a point. There are 151,944 icy pavement related car crashes each year according to the Federal Highway Administration. That’s 151,944 cars that mistook black ice for safety. 151,944 cars that lost control. And 151,944 drivers that should have listened to their moms.     

Ice can kill too. The Federal Highway Administration stated that over 1,300 people are killed in vehicle crashes on snowy, slushy, or icy pavement annually. Swerving into the sophomore lot in an attempt to embody the stereotypical reckless high school driver on a winter day doesn’t seem so cool when I think about how I could easily hit another student. What if I’m too caught up in a snapchat my friend in the passenger seat is trying to show me to see the slick ice right in front of me?

I could easily be one of those 1,300 people if my mom hadn’t spent all of winter break drilling the idea that I should always associate ice with danger into my head.    

Maybe that’s why we never go ice skating and keep the hardware store in business with all the salt we buy.   

The day after the snow day she insisted on driving me to school because she believed that black ice would be the death of me.  As we successfully made a sharp turn around the Village, she finally accepted that the roads were perfectly driveable and maybe she had overreacted.  

Hey, at least she recognizes her obsession with frozen water.

Even though I felt like a freshman again being dropped off in the carpool lane, I felt safe. I didn’t have to worry about how loud I should turn “Havana” by Camila Caballo up or if my usual spot in the sophomore lot would be taken all while trying to focus on the potentially dangerous roads. My two years of driving experience compared to my mother’s 20+ years means I have no right to question her road safety decisions.

From the words of my mother, stay safe, and because of her, I am not one of those 151,944 cars that crashed (even if it means being dropped off in front of school along with the all of the freshman).

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Jackie Cameron

Jackie Cameron is a sophomore at Shawnee Mission East and is a page designer and writer for the Harbinger. Jackie keeps herself busy with tennis, soccer and episodes of The Office. This will be her first year on staff and she's excited for what's to come. Read Full »

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