It has been snowing a lot here lately.
Good for snowballs, bad for trying to get into your parking lot when the UPS truck driver decided it was a good idea to stop directly in front of the entrance, completely blocking it off, because he didn't want to risk pulling into said parking lot, then, when you ask him to move, he gets stuck with his wheels spinning for a solid five minutes before just jamming the truck into reverse and almost ramming into your girlfriend's car out like a giant, brown, deranged wildebeest full of undelivered packages…
With nothing to do but sit inside and avoid a UPS related death, it's all gotten my remembering juices flowing. When I was six we went on a summer backpacking trip in the Sierra Nevada mountains. They're beautiful, as you can see:
But you can also see that, despite it being summer, there is still some snow in the mountains. That is important, but I need to give a little background:
Both of my parents are associated with medicine, and as a result would often discuss parts of their work at home. Therefore, as a kid I would hear my dad come home one day and talk about, say, brachiocephalic angina. In listening to him describe it, I would hear that it often manifested first with pain in the left arm.
Then, a month later, I would overhear my mom talking about meningitis and how it was associated with severe neck pain.
Now, the reason why adults are doctors and kids are not, (aside from the fact that kid doctors couldn't examine members of the opposite gender because they're YUCKY!!!) is that adults can distinguish between different diseases and their different symptoms.
I did not possess this ability.
Basically what I was hearing my parents talk about amounted to one giant super disease that was ever growing, constantly adding various crushing pains, bloody wounds and general pus-iness to its arsenal, all the while zeroing in on nine year old boys named Owen.
It was all over. I was fucked. I would wake up with a stiff neck and my arms would be sore, and I was completely sure that I had brachiocephalic Meningitis. I was convinced that my ovaries hurt constantly and I was completely sure that an entire platoon of gingivites were hiding just behind my tonsils ready to strike.
This takes us back to the Sierra Nevadas.
Casually, one day, someone in my family happened to mention "Snow Blindness". A condition which, if given no definition, sounds pretty dangerous.
Unfortunately, nobody bothered to define what "snow blindness" actually meant. If you don't know it means temporary blindness brought on by hours of exposure to sun reflecting off fields of snow.
Also unfortunately, I knew what "snow" meant and I knew what "blindness" meant… so the recipe for disaster was written.
With nothing to go on except for those two words I naturally assumed that the simple act of happening to glance at a tiny pocked of snow would cause my eyes to melt and drip down my face. Despite the fact that mere MINUTES before hearing about snow blindness, I had been frolicking in a snow field, I suddenly expected this to happen:
So I took precautions, I was smarter than snow, dammit! Having no access to a full Haz-Mat suit in the mountains, I decided it would be prudent to wear snow goggles AT ALL TIMES!
I just knew we would come around a corner and some patch of snow hundreds of feet away would lock onto me like a laser beam and melt away the future of my sight, so I was going to take charge.
I don't know at what point snow blindness stopped scaring me, and I'm not completely sure my ovary pain has completely gone away, but at least I know enough not to park a fucking truck right in front of someone's parking lot!
Seriously… the FUCK?