[Author note: I did skip the blog post “Not to 50 – Part IV – Saving the Planet One Yogurt Container at a Time” because I wanted to use the “Not to 55” instead! Part IV will post next week.]

Not to 55 on ice!  

So, my adopted hometown of Bellingham and surrounds has been a bit under the weather like many of my students, coworkers, friends and family. We got hit by a gorgeous ice-storm. Then snow came down over the top of the ice.

On Saturday, my youngest daughter had two performances at the District Solo & Ensemble playing the violin. One Solo. One Ensemble. Got to the Solo part early. She nailed it. The adjudicator seemed familiar. After getting a mini lesson in how to hold the bow better, the adjudicator looks at me and says, you look familiar. Sharyn Peterson from Skagit County’s Peterson Conservatory of Music & Arts. She played at the Skagit River Shakespeare Festival‘s annual fundraiser back when I was President of Shakespeare NorthWest! Cool. Definitely another Small World experience.

So, I bathed in the praise of my daughter’s success, we head home, I sat down and wrote a few hundred more words and did some more laundry—the exciting life of an author.

[Author note: Warning. Switch to first person present tense writing to echo the tension in the tale!]

Then I head back out for the ensemble portion. Having maneuvered the roads on the way out, I’m a little bit overconfident. Blasé?

I head out, turn onto the two-lane Guide Meridian, driving north. I’m keeping it around 55 mph in the usual 60 mph zone. Slush on the sides of the road and some in the suicide lane.

I pass a pickup that pulled into my lane going slow. Now he’s behind me and staying close. I pull into the suicide turn lane to turn left at the light for the Solo/Ensemble contest. I press on the brakes.

Nothing happens.

I press harder and feel the brakes not grabbing.

Not slowing down.

There’s a car already waiting at the light to turn.

Will the light change?

Still braking, tapping now.

Hand on the e-brake.

Oncoming traffic is in the distance, a fire-truck and an ambulance.

No kidding. No slowing…

I can pull into the oncoming lane and skate past the stopped car.

And pray that there is no one having trouble stopping on Laurel for the red light.

The pickup truck behind me whips past.

No one behind him.

I jerk back into the fast lane and cruise through the intersection.

The light is still green.

I pull into the gas station the other side of Laurel well in front of the oncoming emergency vehicles.

Holy cow adrenalized!

I drive slowly and sedately through the parking lot, pull onto Laurel. No one is coming and the car is still sitting at the turn signal on Meridian.

Glad for steady nerves, quick reflexes and a bit of luck.

My daughter is waiting for the fourth, a violist, to her quartet. The three of them are practicing, nervous. Will their teacher have to play the viola part? No. The fourth quarter arrives. Maybe she was in the car at the light.

I don’t tell my daughter until after her performance I was probably more wired than she was.

When I get home I slip on the stairs, catching myself before I tumble. A bruised shin is all I’ll have to show for my day’s careless behavior. I vow to be safe on the streets when I head to Village Books this afternoon for the Ownership change party!

Be safe people. It’s slippery out there.