It really does snow in Southern California

Snow Job

It was the sort of high desert morning that can bite you: Cold, with a phalanx of dirty nimbostratus teeth grinning down from the south and east. But saddling up for another lovely 70-mile ride down to the Boss Angeles, I thought they were bluffing.      It was the sort of high desert morning that can bite you: Cold, with a phalanx of dirty nimbostratus teeth grinning down from the south and east. But saddling up for another lovely 70-mile ride down to the Boss Angeles, I thought they were bluffing. Not this time. Scattered drops on my face shield after eight miles turn to hard rain in eight more. Then snow. Snow? Hold on. It’s not even supposed to rain in Southern California. But the big fluffy flakes just come harder and faster. Passing the last exit for an easy u-turn toward home, they start to stick. Denial, however, is not just a river in Egypt. I have work to do, and meetings in L.A. This can’t last. But white stuff is sticking to my shield faster than I can shovel it off and traffic is bunching up. After ducking under an overpass to regroup, the GS starts obediently and slips into gear. Ease the clutch out. The rear tire bites, but the front skates sideways on the snow-covered shoulder, tossing me to the ground like 214 lbs. of half-frozen meat. Tired of bad? Try worse. My left ankle looses an argument between the BMW’s clutch cover and the pavement, cuing four of the seven words you can’t say on television and putting the emergency room atop of today’s new agenda… as soon as I can figure out how to get there. Just as 911 looks like the only way out God sends me a Prius. Maybe four hours after my new best friend Jason dropped me off at the hospital, my wife is driving me home. Two days later, the carrot-orange cast looks better than it feels. Confined to the couch, I’m keeping spiral-fractured malleolus elevated and wondering what to take away from the whole thing beyond cheap ER crutches and generic Vicodin. According to my friend Laurence Gonzales, author of Deep Survival: Who lives. Who Dies and Why (www.deepsurvival.com), The first rule of staying alive is perceive and believe. “That means you accept the clear evidence of your senses and not engage in denial like ‘maybe it'll get better’. Pilots call what you did get-home-itis. It can kill you. We live in a culture that tells us, through subtle and constant rewards that we can make our own rules and get away with it. Most of the time, we can. Then comes the real hazard and suddenly we can't anymore.” I had get-to-work-itis: twice as dumb and just as lethal. Plans are good, but Laurence figures flexible plans are a whole lot better. Bend them before you break something, and I started breaking things miles before the snow started. “Sounds like you broke your unbreakable rule,” Laurence said, “Don't ride in snow. But it was a shitty hand you were dealt, too. Did you check weather beforehand?” No. That might saved me from all this. Or maybe all this can save me from something worse next time.