Today is one of those days. It's one of those days where you seriously consider shutting down and staying in bed all day long. Oh, today has some magic to it, to be sure. But it's dark, evil magic. It's the magic where beauty comes at a cost that, given the choice, you might rather not pay.
Today the magic comes in the terms of minus forty degrees. Minus forty? You might say. Minus forty what? Celcius or fahrenheit? Well sir or madame, that is part of the magic. Minus forty is that magical number where celcius and fahrenheit can both agree: It's just way too freaking cold.
That's not the only thing magical about minus forty. When it's minus forty, and you want to start your truck, you go outside and put in the key. When you turn that key to it's first stop, a special light comes on the dash. It says, "Too freaking cold, go back to bed." Of course, I am Canadian. I was born stubborn. I turn it another click. A ragged scream of anger emanates from under the hood. My truck shudders to life, but it growls a menacing growl that says, "You'll pay for this later."
To the untrained eye, getting the truck started would seem to be half the battle. Hell, the fact that it even started at all looks like a little bit of magic in itself. Well, Mr. Untrained Eye, you might be right. But don't think you're home free. Minus forty doesn't just affect your car's starting potential. Just wait until you pull up close to your favorite coffee shop. That is when minus forty strikes again.
Drive thrus at minus forty are a gamble. I think the odds of victory are similar to a national lottery. You've got a myriad of variables stacked against you. The first can be your worst nightmare.
In the good old days, people weren't lazy. They weren't afraid of a little hard work. Now, people are afraid of a little easy work. This easy work comes in the form of rolling down a car window. We rely on angry little motors to roll the windows down for us. These motors are pissed off at us to begin with. They would prefer to be in our position, in the driver's seat, telling gizmos and gadgets what to do. So when we tell them what to do in minus forty, you can imagine their dismay.
And that is the first gamble of the drive thru. Depending how forgiving the motors are, there are a few possibilities:
The window works, albeit very slowly.
The window goes down, but doesn't come back up.
The window doesn't work at all.
Life as we know it ceases to exist.
If you are lucky, you will reach the second obstacle in your morning drive with all your limbs in tact.
The second obstacle is that little speaker in the drive thru box. You think that it's hard to hear the person on the other end on a regular day? Prepare to be confounded by minus forty magic.
"Blurshlurble glurble blurble." That's the speaker.
"Uhhh... Extra large double-double." I have to assume the speaker is trying to take my order.
"Glurble shlurble blueberry bagel?" It's funny how only the words that are wrong come through clearly in minus forty. It must be a side-effect of the magic.
"No. Double-double. Coffee. Two cream, two sugar."
Silence. Either the speaker stopped working completely or the happy Portugese man working inside has left the drive-thru window open too long and his jaw has frozen shut. It's best to pull forward now.
The drive-thru window may or may not be stuck open. Your favorite barista may or may not be frozen solid with an ice-cold death grip on the last person's change. These are a few of the risks of getting a coffee in minus forty.
Of course, even when all the stars are aligned and you have successfully recieved a coffee, the inevitable has happened. During the handoff from the drive-thru window to your truck, the heat has been instantly leeched from your beverage.
At this point if you are not Canadian you may give up and go home.
Unfortunately for me, I am Canadian. So it's time to drive.
Minus forty brings a new challenge to the event of driving. Here is how it goes. Roll a six-sided die. The number which is face up will correspond to your fate on the roads today.
Your brakes freeze solid.
Your steering fluid freezes solid.
Karma acts quickly and your truck gets to fulfill it's promise of revenge. It mysteriously quits in the middle of no where.
You slide off the road.
Your heater quits working and you freeze in place, foot on the gas, wheel turned to two o' clock.
The gods bless your journey and you arrive safely.
Lucky for me, I rolled a six this morning.
Once you've rolled a six you're almost home free. Just make sure you tape that six to the table. Minus forty magic may invade your home and flip it over to a five.
You don't want a five.
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