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Question: You know how when it snows, and then the snow starts to melt, and the spots next to the curbs and at intersections turn into slushy messes that, no matter how hard you try, you always seem to step knee-deep into? How can I avoid doing that? Because it sucks.—LB
Answer: Ahh…winter slush: most common in periods of warmth after severe snowfall and possibly the worst thing about the entire season. The real problem with those slush pools is that they’re next to impossible to see. It looks like asphalt. It is asphalt. Cool. SPLASH! Crap.
Even the most seasoned winter warrior still catches a slush-puddle at least once every snow season. And time after time, year after year, it never sucks even a little bit less. Here’s a few ways to avoid an icy foot-death.
Remember Mikey, from the Life cereal ‘Mikey Likes It’ commercials? In the ad, these kids are all poking at a bowl of Life cereal, unsure of whether to try it or not. They push it over to Mikey, who—they claim—‘doesn’t like anything.’ He tries it and, much to their glee, ‘Mikey likes it!’ The other kids then, one can assume, swipe their bowl back from Mikey and devour it between them.
So: find yourself a Mikey. Anybody walking the same general direction as you will suffice. Follow them. If, when crossing the intersection, they step straight into a freezing sinkhole, remember: don’t go that way. Observe other pedestrians (Mikeys) as they test out the other corners and curbs. Find a winner and follow them.
This is also probably how animals first learned which berries were poisonous.
Dodge and Tarry
Simply: Be light on your feet. See a puddle? Look for a way around it. Serpentine, serpentine! No way around it? Go over it. Jump! Leap! (Make sure you have a proper foothold before you take off, mind you—otherwise you may wind up diving into the slush. The Non-Expert has done this.)
There’s a peculiar running technique that tends to work wonders during slush season. Just, kind of, keep running. You’d be surprised at just how much slush you can avoid if you keep moving. Light on your feet is the key. Step on other pedestrians if necessary.
Wear Protective Gear
Sometimes plopping right in that slush is just your destiny, and no amount of agility or perception can keep your foot from winding up in a deep, chilly sinkhole. Best to accept this, make like a Boy Scout, and be prepared.
Consider first that leather footwear can be your worst enemy in the slush season. Yes, that icy water will soak right through your sole and, after a brisk walk (giving a chance for the frostbite to fully set in), will freeze your foot off. Rubber boots (or galoshes or duck boots or something) may be key, but don’t look so hot. I mean, come on.
One of the biggest challenges, however, is keeping your legs dry. And it’s not like you can hike your trousers up or anything. It’s still freezing cold out, after all. All this is, in fact, why those rubber boots work so well…
Okay, fine, wear the rubber boots, don’t look anyone in the eye, and remember that this, too, shall pass. Until then, pretend you’re a superhero. (Note: buy red boots.)
Stay home, rent Groundhog Day, think of all the hapless pedestrians outside your door, and laugh maniacally when Bill Murray’s childhood friend hoots, ‘Watch out for that first step…it’s a doozy!’