Title Photo Credit: Painstakingly Drawn Artwork by Yours Truly
Ten years ago today, it was February 24, 2007. It was a cold, wintry, -7 °C (20 °F) day, and an ice storm from the previous week still had everything that wasn’t paved covered in a layer of ice so thick that I could walk on it and not punch through to roughly 0.3 meters (1 ft) of snow underneath or even leave a footprint. I was spending that afternoon with my father. We were at his cousin’s place, and Dan (the cousin, name changed) likes to snowmobile. The conditions weren’t actually the best for that. Yes, everything was white, but it was rock-hard ice with no powder to speak of. There were two snowmobiles and three people, so I was being pulled on a sled that was tied to Dan’s snowmobile.
So we’re blasting around Dan’s property, and I’m holding on. As we’re heading up a hill, my hood flies off. I reach one hand up to fix it just as Dan’s snowmobile and the sled turn sharply to the left at the top of the hill. I keep going straight, flying through the air like an upside down Superman before landing on my back and sliding some more. Dan and my dad stop. Not being one to turn down swooshy, organ-jostling sensations, I get back on the sled. (And I didn’t want to walk back.) Dan starts flying along a straightaway. Every little bump or uneven area in the ice threatens to tip the sled over, and one does just that before long. All the leaning in the world wouldn’t have stopped me from spilling ass over head onto the ice. Once the world becomes static again, I immediately roll some more to avoid being run over by my dad on the other snowmobile. I get back on the sled again, and the whole process keeps repeating.
Over the next 90 minutes or so, I spilled or flew out of the sled at 97 to 113 kph (60 to 70 mph) another 10 or 11 times. Things got dicey when we went into the woods, but at least I never flew into the pond. (And Dan always stopped so I could get back on the sled.) After we got back, my father and Dan went over to the fire pit to drink. I was tired after all that crashing, so I decided to lie down on the ice for a while. Dan’s dog soon came over and lay down on me. I guess I made for a comfy bed.
“Why are you telling this story?” you might ask: Well, lying there on the ice with a dog lying on me is when, through a fog of tiredness and terrible cell phone reception, I called Talia (my eventual wife) and asked her out.
(Dan’s snowmobile was a two-seater, by the way.)