That is the question.
With winter well and truly set in around these parts the skoosher conundrum is presenting itself daily.
Don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about – because you do. Even if you don’t know you do, you do!
The overnight temperature was -7*c. It’s half-past 7 in the morning and you’re in the car on the way to work. You have scraped the ice off your windscreen. You may have even scraped some of your windscreen off your windscreen in your haste. You have scraped your wing mirrors. All is clear. You have, of course, been running your car while scraping so it has begun to warm up and all is well with the world. So you back out of the driveway and are headed merrily on your way. Which is when all the problems begin.
Not only does the windscreen fog up completely the second you pull onto a street that has traffic on it, but your previously spotless windscreen is now impossible to see through. Why? You know why! There is a mysterious browny-grey slime that appears on your windscreen as if from nowhere the second you move an inch in the winter. And it STICKS. To make it worse you can’t see the extent to which the brown/grey slime has set-in yet because your windscreen has fogged up.
So you’re driving along peering through the teeny tiny space near the dashboard which is the only un-fogged part of the windscreen, attempting to find a crack in the brown/grey slime and at the same time trying desperately not to run into anyone or any thing and, hopefully, keeping your car on the road. It would be best if you could also be trying to drive uphill on an icy road which has not been salted (most roads, really). Or, even better if you live close to the motorway and are trying to merge into rush-hour traffic.
You’re now on the way to work and have approximately 2 square inches of visibility – suddenly the Fog Gods (great name for a band?) take pity on you and miraculously the windscreen clears to reveal the extent to which your car has been coated with brown/grey slime.
This is EVERYWHERE and impossible to see through. Coming from the roadway, this slush is momentarily liquid and therefore it should be easy to clear off. One swish of the wipers, however, smears this slime over your windscreen in, admittedly, quite an attractive pattern. Your two square inches of visibility are now reduced to one millimetre of clear space between each streak of slushy muck.
Now what? Well, the solution is obvious, one skoosh and all will be revealed! The roadway! You’ll be able to see the roadway! You may even be able to see the entirety of the car you are crawling up the tailpipe of. Imagine that?! So what do you do? You pull the lever which activates the skoosher. Only to be reminded, horribly, that the solution has frozen overnight and your skooshers are dry. However no one told your windscreen wipers this and there they go happily swooshing along thinking for all the world that they are doing you a favor.
They. Are. Not. They are just making it worse. Much, much worse. Your millimetre of clear space has disappeared only to be replaced by one square inch located somewhere above the passenger seat. Now relying on your car-pool to navigate (and the tail lights of the car in front which are quite foggy and may, in fact, be warning lights on a runway – you have no idea because you can’t see them!) you are cursing yourself, cursing the weather, the brown muck and, most of all your skooshers which have let you down again.
However fifteen minutes later you will tire of craning your neck and surely, surely the heat of your car engine will have thawed your skooshers. High on anticipation and the promise the skoosher fluid manufacturers made that their product works at temperatures of -700*c and BELOW you pull your lever with your fingers crossed and totally believing that this will work and you will be able to see again (SEE AGAIN!!!). It doesn’t work. It doesn’t work the next time either. Or the time after that. Or after that. You think by now you would have learned, but you’ll try anything to stop having to drive with your head in the passengers’ seat.
You reach the point where you are praying for a much bigger car to pass you going faster so they spray your car (and windscreen) with slush fresh from the road. With that kind of liquid you could really get the glass clean again. Or maybe it could start snowing again? Snow is clean, right? Please snow. Please rain. Please do anything that will wet my windscreen. You even start fishing about in the back seat for that half-empty bottle of water you know is back there (you can here is sloshing!!) so you can awkwardly reach out the side window at the next stop light (forget that, do it now!!) and use that water to clear the glass. You are willing to do anything for the ability to see.
Having finally made it to work, an hour or so late because you had to drive at 35mph the whole way in because you had zero visibility, and out of some perverse desire to make yourself feel worse, you try your skooshers. And here, safely in the parking lot, with the parking brake on and your hand on the door to leave the car, HERE when you don’t need to see at all, HERE your skooshers work. Instantly . You can see the car parked in front of you. You can see beyond that to the building you work in. You can even see Sally on the second floor waving at you from the window. Here in the parking lot when you don’t have to drive any more you can see.
I’ll tell you one thing for free – you say – I’ll never make that mistake again. You buy new skoosher fluid (guaranteed below -900*c!!!!) and refill your reservoir – ignoring the “In Concentrate” label on the bottle and not putting in any water at all (freeze on me this time, sucker!).
And there you go at the end of the day, having scraped a bit more glass off your windscreen in your eagerness to get on the road and try out your new skoosher fluid. On the way home driving merrily along you try the skoosh again. And it skooshes just fine. Except it got colder during the day and the skoosher fluid freezes on impact and your wipers drag ice crystals across your field of vision.
But I really don’t even want to talk about that.
Good luck out there in this, the coldest winter in 30 years (apparently) here in Scotland.
Be safe on the roads and, for God’s sake, don’t use your skoosher!!!
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