Running on Ice

It doesn’t matter whether or not you are a runner; ice is dangerous. Every year, I come across someone who has slipped on ice and ended up with a broken bone, usually a wrist from trying to break the fall. So, when it comes to winter running, I slow down, worried that I might lose my footing. Ice is my greatest fear.

So, I can’t believe that it has taken me almost two weeks to knock at the house around the corner from us. One Monday morning, as I went bolting out the door for a quick run, I turned the corner and, “Whoa! Where did that come from?” In a perfectly dry neighbourhood, where there has been no rain or snow, were 3 or 4 sidewalk slabs covered in ice. “Kids,” I reasoned. I knew that two boys lived there. “They must have done a lousy job of washing the car.”

The next run, I forgot about the ice. After all, we still had only had cold but dry weather. So I bellowed the same, “Whoa!” when I turned the corner but, this time, I added a few choice words to it. Since then, I have been more than cautious heading out, wondering when they were going to take the time to salt. And, after a few more runs, I realized that the ice was the overflow from flooding a skating rink in their backyard.

Today, we had our first real snowfall of the winter. I ran past the snow-covered icewalk and complained to myself about it once again, but when I ran past on the way home, I stopped, turned around and knocked on the door (careful to remove my balaclava first so that they wouldn’t mistaken me for some criminal-type out on a frosty winter night).

“Hi, I live around the corner,” I started. Suddenly, I was starting to feel a bit like a door-to-door salesperson. “I’m not sure if you know, but you have quite a bit of ice at the side of your house. I guess it came from the skating rink.”

“Yes, I know!” the owner barked. “Three other people have come to tell me that today.”

“Well, you can’t see it now, and it is dangerous. Someone can get hurt.”

And the rant began. “Everyone is so concerned about someone else getting hurt but no one is concerned enough to come and salt it. I’m a single mom with three kids. I have to drive my oldest back to university tonight. Is anyone going to be walking their dog out in a blizzard? No. I won’t be home until midnight and I certainly don’t think I’ll be salting then. One guy told me he even had the time to call the town to complain but does he have the time to put down salt?”

I now realized why I waited so long to knock on her door. I interjected here, reminding her that it is her house and that we are busy looking after our own houses, and she continued to remind me that she is a single mom with 3 kids (and, I know the youngest is in or near the teen years) and very busy and….

I started to walk away and said, “We’re all busy, but it’s been like that for almost 2 weeks.”

She stared at me in absolute disbelief and claimed that couldn’t be true because it hasn’t snowed or rained.

“I know because I’ve been avoiding that stretch when I run.” And, I started to leave. But before I did, she said it: Whatever. And she raised the “stop” hand.

Oh my. Well, I did my civic duty and what I could for self-preservation and, apparently, so have others. And, I’m willing to bet that a few more will follow and talk to the hand. Sadly, until there is an accident, nothing will likely change.

And people wonder why runners take to the roads.

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