Thursday, 9 February 2012

Schadenfreude In The Freezing Rain

'Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating,' said John Ruskin, 'there is no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.' Over the past few weeks, it was impossible not to have agreed with him.

It has been spectacular. Ravishing sunsets, tundra like icy landscapes and a crispness and stillness which is rarely reached. Weather for dogs as the scents are strong and the rabbit trails easy to track.

The light dusting of snow hid the ugliness of the slag heaps. They took on their own beauty - the snow covered conical shapes glistened under the azure skies.

Even the love of officialdom and regulations were half hidden for a time.

But it was not to last. If you agree or disagree Oscar Wilde's assertion that 'conversation about the weather is the last refuge of the unimaginative', the news channels and radio stations are back into full swing with debates about the strange phenomenon of frozen rain, which hit the North of England this morning and caused 97 accidents in relatively few hours. Some of the school buses were cancelled and the odd school was closed as the roads around it became like the arena for Dancing On Ice.

It is nasty. It is different from black ice which tends to only to lie in patches. This is everywhere and when you hit it there's nothing much you can do. I know. Several years ago I hit it early one morning on the Windsor By-pass. Having done two 360 o turns, I found myself facing the wrong way up a dual carriageway looking at the pale but determined face of another driver, who was also out of control. He slewed and stopped incesh from my car.

We got out and celebrated our good fortune at not ramming into each other. We watched two other drivers further down the road who were also talking to each other. Shouting would be a more apt description, as unlike us they had rammed into each other. We looked at each other and tried to suppress our grins, in a poor and thinly disguised attempt to disguise our schadenfreude.

Human nature is a funny thing. Two days later I am sure the situation was reversed when I crashed into the back of another car and a pasing motorist, I could have sworn was struggling with his shadenfreude, too. Less successfully than me as he was belly laughing as he drove by.

Yes, yes, I know what you are thinking........

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