You know the old saying, ‘You can’t put a price on a life’? Well today I think I might have figured out what the price of a life is. Read on and I’ll fill you in.
Here in ‘beautiful Ireland’, (imagine the presence of sarcasm in my tone), we view picture postcard images of Winter from all across the globe, snowy mountains and blue skies and to be honest many of us feel more than a little sick. Why you may wonder? Isn’t Ireland wonderful? Well yes it is… if you are coming to visit! No picture postcard image here. In the past three weeks we have had biblical floods. Thankfully the rains have moved on but the other night our trusty weather forecasters in Met Eireann warned us that ‘a new weather system was approaching, bringing Polar air, (if you say it quickly it sounds harmless enough) but what does it mean?
Well to be honest when I heard it I wasn’t much bothered. As long as they didn’t mention rain how bad could it be? With that fairy tale thought in my head I woke up Tuesday morning to see the windscreen covered in ice. As this is a regular Winter occurrence I didn’t think much about it. I cleared the ice and drove off to early morning swimming. I noticed a bit of a skid in a couple of places but nothing too bad. Returning home a few hours later I announced it was a bit slippy, nothing to worry about.
At 8am as we sat for breakfast (my second breakfast of the day) it began to lash. I was happy enough believing that it would mean the temperatures had probably risen (everyone in Ireland is a weather expert in case you don’t know). Sadly I was wrong. Looking back I now believe this was the very moment the Polar air arrived. By the time we left for the school run we were driving on an ice rink.
So it has continued for the past three days. Just when you think it has thawed and it’s safe to venture out, that Polar air sweeps our way again, usually right after a heavy shower of rain. If this keeps up Ireland will, in a matter of weeks, have pedestrians capable of entering the winter Olympics ice skating events.
However, much as I’d love one of my own children to be Olympians, they will not be in the running.
Whereas when I was young I loved to skate down the road on a sheet of ice, challenging my friends to see who can go the furthest before falling, this current generation are only used to falling while playing Winter Olympics on the Wii. The thought of hitting the deck terrifies them. With the result they have begged me each day to drive them, through the ice rink that is the local housing estate, to school. As I am
an amazing mother an eejit, I did so for the past two days. However yesterday we came close to death (I may be exaggerating slightly).
I had become used to skidding and staying calm but on this occasion the skid continued down a hill, not an enormous hill, but a hill non the less. My crawling 10 Km/hr speed quickly became a lot more than that, as I calmly announced to my two young passengers, ‘Ah lad’s we’re fecked’. We continued at speed towards the T junction and only I spoke, ‘Ah Jesus I hope there’s no cars coming’. Skidding out onto the oncoming road we quickly saw there was a break in the traffic. ‘Yahoo!’ I laughed, ‘How lucky are we?’. Looking back I realise there was no answer from my pale, sweating passengers, who were perhaps a little more traumatised than myself.
Another day dawned today and the same carry on. Rain overnight and then that fecker ‘Polar air’ came calling. As the kids groaned about the (very short) path they would walk into school I broke the news to them, not exactly gently,
‘You are walking to school today. I’m not risking the car’.
As they squealed and protested, asking, ‘What if we fall?’ I was not for turning. So armed with great advice, ‘walk on the path’ and ‘walk slowly’, they left. It is then it occurred to me. I risked their lives over my car. I had actually put a price on their heads. That being the case, I now knew what the price of a life was.
As a point of interest, I’ll let you know what it came to.
I valued the possible cost of crashing into another car, plus the damage to my own, as a minimum of €1,000. So I guess as there were two children in this case, that makes their lives worth approximately €500 each. Of course my own life was worth nothing.
I’m sure this will be something you may find helpful some day in your future.
Don’t go just yet.
I wrote this earlier today and as you can gather I was a little bit fed up with the weather. Well, this being Ireland we went on to have another couple of seasons in the day, one being Summer. This afternoon was glorious with blue skies and even a tiny bit of heat.
So forget the bit about Ireland being a place to just visit. Come and enjoy it, just stay in bed late in the Winter.
Photos credit… ME.
photo credit: Leo Reynolds via photopin cc