In warmer climates, the center line is defined by reflective Bott’s Dots stuck onto freeways with epoxy, but here, in snow country, snow plows scrape them right off, so highways are striped old-school style–with trucks and hoses and spray nozzles. Sometimes the paint is garnished with a shrapnel glitter of reflective glass beads for better visibility.
(When I was a kid, the dashed passing-lane stripes always reminded me of the dashed middle lines in those amazingly racist red Big Chief Tablets that we had to buy for school every year, along with our Elmer’s Glue, Crayola Crayons, and Ticonderoga #2 pencils.)
Here, the center line can sometimes be tricky and elusive. Have you ever been unexpectedly caught in a bad snowstorm? The tense drive home–head hanging out the side window when the flurries get too bad, trying to find the center line? Bracing for the invisible collision?
(I was skipped forward, so never really became adept at penmanship. I sign my books with the leaning, too-careful cursive of a first-grader. Without any lines I go off the road completely, which is okay, because lines are overrated anyway and I have 4-wheel drive, but still . . . off road is off road and on the highway there’s too much traffic to write over the center line.)
Here, it’s three degrees below zero already tonight. More storms and flurries on their way.
I’m hanging my head out the window looking for that shimmer of yellow, some tiny glint of spark not snow, to guide my way back to who and where I was before.