The big freeze is a state of mind
As readers in the Dublin area will be able to confirm, getting around this city over the past day or two has not been easy. Although snow and ice have descended upon us again, there is no sign of any kind of local authority gritting. The snow has simply piled up and has made many, perhaps most, roads treacherous. Having lived in places where such weather is not so rare, I am able to negotiate these conditions reasonably well, and have been getting around in my car; though it is a slow business, as other drivers struggle to keep their cars going as they want them to.
But what has struck me is the utter lack of concern for others that I seem to be witnessing. Since yesterday morning I have encountered some 15 motorists who were stuck – skidding, unable to move forward, unable to get up a hill, unable to get out of or get back into their drives, and so forth. And nobody was helping them. Here’s an example.
Yesterday a woman driving a people carrier was trying to drive along the road as it went up a small hill. She had got about half way up with the car skidded sideways, and now she was standing with her car across both sides of the road, unable to move it. Because she was right in the middle of the road cars were able to pass by on both sides of her, which they did, and not one stopped to help. As I got out of my car to see if I could do something for her, a taxi driver passing by slowed down, pulled down his window, and shouted at her to stay at home if she didn’t know how to drive, and that she should get a ‘proper car’. When I reached her she was in tears, but with a little help I was able to get her back on her way; though as no good deed goes unpunished, I found that my own car was now stuck on the hill – but I was able to get it moving by easing back down again first.
I am not suggesting I am particularly good or helpful. All too often I don’t stop in normal conditions to help someone. But at times such as these we need to show solidarity with others and stop to help. Have we lost that little bit of compassion?
By the way, my dog also helps. When on our walks we have found motorists in distress, I stop to push and he stands at the side of the road and barks vigorously. It encourages us…