“Goes unpunished,” right?
That is how the old saying goes. I suppose it’s true enough.
The other evening, I was coming home from… well… I can’t remember where now. It’s been a week-ish? Maybe?
I popped around a curve (because straight roads in West Virginia are a bigger myth than Sasquatch or honest politicians), and found a deadfall laying across both lanes. Fortunately, it was no thicker than my wimpy bicep at its largest, and it had even helpfully broken into sections when it struck the pavement.
I slowed down and carefully navigated my vehicle over the problem. But then I thought about my mom. I thought about the elderly lady who used to live up the road that Mom adopted (even though she hadn’t driven in years due to vision problems). West Virginia is slowly becoming a retirement community. I’m pretty sure the average age of the state’s population is skewed kinda high, because most people leave the state after high school or college to find work.
So, I keyed my four-way hazard flashers and proceeded to clear the road.
I was able to kick most of the pieces out of the road with hardly any effort, but the reason it was a deadfall to begin with was very apparent. There was a vine of some sort wrapped around the larger sections.
Now, I should’ve stopped and taken just a few seconds to consider the situation fully before diving in to clear the road. A guy I used to know taught me the Philosphy of the Five Ps, “Prior Planning Prevents Piss-poor Performance.”
Yeah. I know. There are technically six Ps in that statement, but this guy was former military, and it was probably TRADITION that the statement was called the “Philosophy of the Five Ps.”
But moving on…
Without a second thought, I grabbed the vine and started dragging it and the larger pieces it clutched back out of the road.
I shouldn’t have done that. I really, really shouldn’t have done that.
Mom was very susceptible to the poison plants… that is poison ivy, poison oak, poison shumac, etc. She could look at a sprig of poison ivy from two hundred yards away through a telescope and get a nice little collection of red dots on her hands. The one time she actually got close to a clump of it when she was younger sent her to the hospital because she had oil-filled blisters between her fingers so large and thick that she couldn’t pull them fingers together.
In this respect, I am very glad of the fact that I do not take after Mom.
Unfortunately, I don’t take after Dad, either.
Dad can grab clumps of poison ivy and pull it up roots and all, and he might maybe get a tiny red dot somewhere in the vague vicinity of where the ivy touched him.
Me? Well… I’m somewhere in the middle.
I have a nice collection of itchy, red bumps all over my forearms… and even on my torso. I have no idea how it got on my torso. No idea whatsoever.
Aside from the small fact that they itch like the dickens, these bumps have made writing a bit of a challenge, because they’re perfectly placed so that I have to be careful of where my keyboard is on the keyboard tray in relation to my chair, because resting my wrists on the keyboard tray (as I usually do while typing) is Not Fun right now.
You want to know the really funny part?
I keep a box of nitrile mechanics’ gloves in the back of the car.
I doubt they would’ve protected my forearms, since they’re–you know–gloves and not gauntlets, but maybe I should look into getting a pair of blacksmith gloves. Those are thick leather gloves that actually cover a sizeable portion of the forearm in leather, too.
I’m sure some people would say the moral of this story is not to bother with plant life in the road, but I’m not going to do that.
Even though my vehicle had no problems rolling over the sections of branch or small tree or whatever it was, that wasn’t to say the next person to come along would’ve had it so easy.
I’m glad I took the time to clear the road. I only regret that I didn’t take better precautions.
It didn’t occur to me to take pictures. Sorry. Maybe it will next time.