This morning we woke up to well over a foot of snow. Delightful, white winter wonderland outside. Snow is fine by me.
Until . . .
Until I have to drive my low-slung Toyota car out of my dry garage and through that foot of snow. How do you say ‘snowplow?’ That’s what my car was trying to be. A snowplow wannabe.
It didn’t work. I was barely out of the garage when I got stuck. Dig, dig, dig with the snow shovel. Drive a little. Dig, dig, dig some more. For over an hour.
The last time I got stuck, I was just a few feet from the road. By this time, I was soggy wet. Wet clear through to my skin. (Except for my feet. Gotta love my great snow boots!) Ten pick-up trucks slowly drove by. Several in four-wheel drive. Some with chains on — on the truck tires NOT on the driver’s body . . .
Were any of these testosterone-filled drivers of huge trucks chivalrous? Were they quixotic? Did they stop to help a damsel in distress? Nay. Even my next door neighbor slowly drove by with his window down gawking at me without stopping. Without asking if I needed any help. Thank you so much for your neighborliness.
Quixotic [qwik-SOT-ik] is an adjective that means absurdly chivalrous. None of the drivers of said trucks were absurdly chivalrous this morning. None of them were even reasonably chivalrous. None were even faintly chivalrous. At least to me.
This word comes from the novel Don Quixote. (Note: the full title of that novel by Cervantes is the Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quioxte of La Mancha. I doubt that very many people know this. So there you go. You are now more knowledgeable than the common man on the street.)
The main character, Don Quixote, is obsessed with chivalrous ideals and decides to take up his lance and sword to defend the helpless and destroy the wicked. And thus we get the word quixotic to describe foolishly chivalrous people.
Quixotic also means impulsive and unpredictable — because those are two other behaviours of Don Quixote.
When you are in dire straits and in need of some help, I hope that a quixotic person happens by. Having the help of a ridiculously chivalrous person is better than no help at all. Trust me. I know.