How do you know you are from Montana? You drive motor vehicles with cracked windshields.
For the second time in a week my windshield took another hit from a flying rock from the car in front of me. For the second time in a week my windshield sustained a chip in the glass. For the second time in a week I threw my ordination out the window and said words that would melt the paint off of walls. The world is beginning to look like a giant jig saw puzzle whenever I drive thanks to the growing cracks and chips that are in the windshield.
Now there are those of you out there who probably think that I am kidding when I say that most Montanans have cracked windshields . . . but, I kid you not. Not one of the three vehicles that we own is without a crack or numerous chips or pits. The children would have had a blast years ago connecting all the chips and pits with a marker . . . now I just get lots of creative reflections from the sun . . . sort of like a kaleidoscope or having way too much to drink. All three of the vehicles have cracks.
There is no worse sound to my ears—except maybe the sound of a flat tire—than a stone hitting the windshield. THWACK! The louder the “thwack” the bigger the chip. A chip would not be so bad except weather in Montana likes to go to extremes—cold and hot. When the temperature gets below zero those chips like to expand into a crack. When the temperature gets above a hundred and the windshield heats up to something over a 150 degree . . . well, those chips and pits like to move around the windshield like a drunk map drawer.
Plus, whenever I hear a “thwack” my mind automatically hears “ka-ching”! Ka-ching as in a cash register ringing up another sale . . . as in money flying out of my wallet and bank account. That almost hurts more than the damage done to my windshield. Needless to say, I am a little tight with my money. Yeah, my wallet squeaks when I walk across the room. Replacing windshields is expensive . . . multiply that by three and you can see why I cringe every time I hear the “thwack” of a rock hitting my windshield.
So, I drive with cracked windshields . . . at least until we get through the rock and ice season here in Montana. I think that gives me about a two-week period in mid-July to get all three windshields replaced. But, in the meantime, I drive with cracked windshields. Unless I am driving into the sun it is really no problem, but when the sunlight hits those cracks just right it is like a light show at a Rolling Stones concert. The special effects are amazing as I pray to God that I am still in my own lane.
I have been told that law enforcement can pull people over who have cracked windshields in Montana and issue a ticket for being a driving nuisance. I have heard that, but I have never seen it. I imagine that it would be more of a hassle because law enforcement would be pulling over just about every car and truck with a Montana license plate. They would have no time to anything but issue tickets for cracked windshields.
Cracked windshields do not bother me as much as they bother the wife. I think they add a sense of character and toughness to my little Volkswagen Jetta . . . the wife thinks that they make her Toyota Tacoma look trashy. I figure that the cracks in the Jetta reflect the driver . . . I have been told numerous times that I am a little cracked. Not really sure what people meant by that, but I often feel a little beat up . . . so, why not my car?
I have been having a sort of contest with the vehicles this winter. Our Ford Ranger was winning, but the Jetta easily caught up this week. The Tacoma is a distance third. It is hard to say who will win at this point, but I am betting on the Jetta because it is my winter vehicle. My goal is to make it to mid-July when I replace all the windshields without any of them falling out. It is going to be close. Ya gotta love living in Montana!