Winter Tires

Back in December, while driving, I was chatting with a new friend and mentioned that I would soon be putting winter tires on my car. He asked me why people did that; changed their tires for the winter. I was a little surprised by the question. Though I supposed it was a justifiable one for a life-long city dweller who would have no need for car ownership let alone seasonally appropriate radials. So I did my best to explain to him my understanding of tread patterns and varying rubber densities. Not to mention that here in Quebec, it’s the law.

After dropping him off, I reflected on the common adage “there are no stupid questions”. It’s a good one. The only thing that keeps us from asking questions - questions that for some reason we think we should already know the answer to - is pride. And I’ve never been a big fan of that measure of pride. Never the less I still often fall prey to this arrest in learning myself. It’s something I’m going to focus on changing in the new year. Mostly because I’m embarking on a new project, a new film, which will likely bring me into contact with people who have a lot to teach me. I hope to make “I don’t know, tell me” my new mantra.

It wasn’t until I got home that something occurred to me regarding my new friend’s inquiry about winter tires. It wasn’t that he’d never owned a car, or even ever seen a television commercial for Bridgestone Blizzaks. It’s that…

He’s from Toronto.

Toronto, a city less a part of the “Great White North” than many states to the South. A city beleaguered by our nation’s ever lasting (and mocking) memory of a particular winter that saw their mayor call in Canada’s armed forces to help clear the streets of snow. A city where, indeed, people could feasibly grow up never having purchased a set of winter tires. Well, it’s January now in Montreal and if I hollowed out the snow bank outside my window I could use it as a garage. I just hope my friend got a good pair of boots by the first snowfall.

There are no stupid questions. Just different routes to the same eventual destination of knowledge. “I don’t know, tell me” or maybe “Ask now so you don’t get snow-jobbed later.”

PS. This I do know: Refrain news coming soon.

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