[No matter how much you shovel, this is bound to happen eventually.]
Q: Are you a Minnesotan planning to move to Tuscon, Arizona? Fort Meyers, Florida? Buying a timeshare in Mexico?
A: If so, you are not alone. Thousands of Minnesotans of a certain age flock to warmer climes in the winter, seeking the sun, searching for escape from the extremes of climactic variation.
But what makes them go? Is it the cold? The darkness? The lack of flowers or green things?
I’d be willing to guess that the #1 reason people flee the tundra is that the ice makes you feel like a hampster in a wok. If you’re of a certain age, you’re justifiably terrified of slipping and falling on icy sidewalks. That’s the kind of accident that can dramatically, and irreversibly change your life. And, as this winter’s quick freeze/thaw cycles prove, its almost impossible to keep streets and sidewalks free of ice and snow. For many Minnesotans, the choices is clear: stay inside or risk certain death.
Well, into this dark void comes a shining hero, ready to step in and clamp down on winter’s slippery slope. Yes, I am talking about Yak Trax.
I was talking with my mother the other day and she started gushing about this new invention. She got a pair, and all of a sudden winter was her playground once again. She could walk down the driveway to get the mail. She could go into and out of her car without fear. No longer confined to the indoor parking garage, she was giddily describing how many sidewalks and snowbanks she had successfully escalated. YakTrax had changed her life!
I’m kind of a luddite, but could this be one of those rare cases of true technological liberation?
Particularly during the winter, technology has a very subtle role to play in our daily lives. We wear clothes that give keep our warmth. Insulation and furnaces, fires and long-distance fruit shipments keep linked to warmer worlds. Cell phones, those magical memory machines, keep us from our cabin fever. TVs offer antidotes to loneliness. Imagine what it would be like to live without electric lights? Our days would be shorter indeed.
But there’s a way that the best kinds of technology end up becoming invisible changing our ways of life from the closest possible distance. In a way, the glasses on our noses are far beyond the horizon. We take them for granted. They escape our notice. Technology is too close.
So its about time that technology stepped in and saved Minnesota winter. So instead of running away to the desert or the swamp, strap on a pair of YakTrax and start living the icy high life.
[This Brianna Lane song seems to be about YakTrax.]