I did stop at the Save-A-Lot plaza and scrape the wiper blades clear of ice, but they still refused to squirt anything out. So I popped the hood and stared at the skinny tube running from the washer-fluid reservoir to the wipers, hoping I might secretly possess the power to fix the defective mechanism with my mind.
Despite the 20-degree weather, I'd neglected to put on a jacket when I got out of the car, and, after 10 minutes of standing there in my t-shirt, I decided that I'd done enough staring. The roads weren't that moist and salty, I told myself. I'd be fine, even if I didn't have the useless-at-all-times-except-for-right-now power to mentally fix windshield-washer fluid mechanisms (which, it turned out, I didn't).
Somewhere between Tupper Lake and Cranberry Lake, a red pickup truck pulled out of a side road ahead of me and proceeded to putter along at a cool 35 miles per hour, its tires spewing a gritty paste onto my front window. (I understand that I could have slowed down, put a few car lengths between us, and avoided the truck's back-spray, but, to paraphrase Sammy Hagar, I can't drive 25.)
At the same time, the sun came scudding out from behind the clouds, as if it had overslept and was rushing into work at eleven-thirty, hoping no one would notice its tardiness. Well, I noticed, because when the sunlight hit the windshield's white crust, I went blind.
The smart, responsible thing to do would have been to pull over and clean the front window with a handful of snow - but I decided that was for nerds. I could sort of see the road through a few dime-sized holes in the glaring sheet of light blanketing the windshield, and that seemed good enough. I had a long way to go, after all, and I couldn't stop for something as small as not being able to see the road or anything on it.