My Latest Trip
I woke up late this morning, as I've done most mornings this month. For some reason, I'm having a very hard time getting up and active in the mornings. As usual, I checked my email and scanned Twitter as I ate breakfast. I saw both Naladahc and GigaMatt complain about the ice, and thought somewhat smugly to myself "Thank goodness I'm not driving to work any more!" I hopped into the shower, and promptly forgot what I had read.
After dressing I stepped out onto my front porch, ready to walk to work. I placed my foot onto the first of my porch steps and paused, looking about me. Everything looked damp. "Should I get my umbrella?" I asked myself. After a moment's hesitation I decided no, it didn't look like it was going to rain and I could always hustle to the bus stop if a drizzle started. I removed my left foot from the porch and started to lower it toward the second porch step when my balance shifted and the invisible patch of ice on which I was standing made its presence known to me. I felt that lurching sensation in my stomach as both legs flew out from under me. I threw my hands down behind and skinned the heel of my right hand pretty badly as I slid down the steps to the walkway.
It is not a boast when I say that I don't trip too often. I have pretty good balance, and quick reflexes, so I'm usually able to keep my footing. Last winter I tripped only twice (on the same day, no less!) in all the days I walked to work through the snow and ice.
Somewhat shaken, and worried about the laptop I had in my backpack, I cautiously climbed my porch stairs, re-entered my house, and washed my hands. Thus cleaned up, I approached the porch again, and managed to carefully descend. I got to my sidewalk and took three or four steps before sliding forward again. Thankfully it was purely horizontal motion, and I remained standing. So again I carefully returned to the house.
In a box in my closet, waiting patiently for a day such as this, was a pair of YakTrax Walkers. I used these things only once last year (the day after I fell twice), and they worked admirably. Carefully I put them on while standing on my porch, and then trepidatiously descended the stairs and walked out onto the sidewalk. The coils of the Walkers bit into the ice, giving me a firm footing for my stride. I walked cautiously down the street, gaining confidence with each step. I forced myself to go slower than I thought necessary, just to be safe and not to get over-confident.
The walk to work was uneventful, and I didn't slip at all. Of course, I walked south along High Street and many of the businesses and shops along the way had salted the sidewalk, so the Walkers only provided modest benefit. On several occasions, though, I clearly traversed large sheets of nearly invisible ice. Without the Walkers I'm sure I would have taken another spill.
As I approached the OSU campus, I saw that most of the sidewalks had been thoroughly salted by the University grounds crew. I finally stopped along Woodruff Ave. and removed the Walkers from my shoes, confident that the salted sidewalks would provide adequate traction for the remaining two blocks I had to walk. Almost immediately one of my feet shot out, threatening to unceremoniously introduce me to the ground again. I was able to adjust, and remain standing, but at the expense of pulling the muscles in my back in a weird and entirely uncomfortable way. Rather than do the smart thing -- don the Walkers again -- I proceeded slowly and with great caution until I reached my destination.
If you're looking for a last-minute stocking stuffer for a pedestrian in your life, I can wholeheartedly recommend the YakTrax Walker products!