getting home is hard to do

So, if you live in the continental United States, you’ve probably heard something about THE BIGGEST SNOW STORM OF ALL TIME, and if you don’t live in the continental United States, I don’t know if you’ve heard something about THE BIGGEST SNOW STORM OF ALL TIME, but hey, there’s this winter storm with snow and whatnot and it’s pretty big, for a weather system. Like, probably the biggest snow storm of all time. OF ALL TIME! (It turns out that while it was a pretty formidable storm, it wasn’t THE BIGGEST SNOW STORM OF ALL TIME, because I keep hearing about The Blizzard of ’78, which left my part of the world buried under two feet of snow — people talk about it every time a snow storm is forecast — but I don’t know anything about it, because I wasn’t born yet, so I still haven’t experienced A REAL SNOW STORM. Apparently.)

As it happens, I work late on Tuesdays, and THE BIGGEST SNOW STORM OF ALL TIME was scheduled to land here (a.k.a. Michigan, the one shaped like a mitten) in the evening. And it did! So I got out of work at 8 p.m. and started the drive home. I could’ve gotten directly onto the freeway, but instead I thought I’d put gas in my car since I only had half a tank, and I figured I’d stop at this one gas station and then take the back roads for a bit and then get on the freeway. But the best laid plans, etc. etc. blah. So I got to the gas station and it looked closed, so I thought, “I just want to get home. I have half a tank, which is more than enough, so I’ll just keep going.” Which I did. And the roads weren’t too bad… some drifting and a lot of wind, but they were passable. I was nearly a mile from my destination when I crossed some railroad tracks and hit a massive snow drift and spun my car and wound up in a ditch. That’s right. I spun right round, baby, right round. Whee!

I mean, yes, I probably shouldn’t have been on that road to begin with and should’ve just gotten on I-94 and been done with it, but I’m silly that way. So I got out of the car to investigate the problem. Bear in mind I have a tiny car, and it’s not like I carry a shovel with me just in case I wind up in a snow-filled ditch (perhaps I should consider this for the future). I could barely push the car door open because the snow came up past the bottom of it, and when I stepped out of the car, I sank to my knee. I believe my exact words upon taking stock of the situation were “Oh fucking fucking fucking hell.” (Always such a lady, I am.) I realized that I was going to have to remove the snow from around my tires, but with what? Well, I have feet, don’t I? Yes, I do. Two of them. So I began digging the car out by kicking at the snow. This was incredibly hard work because that snow? HEAVY. Meanwhile, it was snowing, and the wind was blowing at approximately eleventy billion miles per hour, whipping even more snow, snow that felt like stinging little ice-knives, directly at my face. But I am nothing if not stubborn and persistent as all hell, so I wasn’t going to let something insignificant like wind powerful enough to knock me over and being continuously pelted in the face by stinging little ice-knives stop me from kicking knee-deep snow away from the tires of my car. After four tires, I was exhausted and out of breath, but I was so sure that my snow-kicking had been successful that when I got back into my car and put it in reverse, I was genuinely shocked — SHOCKED, I SAY! — when the car didn’t budge. It didn’t budge even a little bit. “Well, damn,” I said.

Then, because I am a grownup, I called my mom. She gave me the number for AAA, but it turns out that if you don’t have AAA roadside assistance, they won’t come to drag you out of a massive drift of snow on the edge of a cornfield. Huh. The lady on the phone was really nice though and gave me the number of a tow truck company, and I was just about to call when some dude in a truck arrived. He offered to help, and he tried, but man, my car was like, “You know, if you don’t mind, I’m just going to chill here for awhile.” I told him I had the number of a tow truck and he waited while I called them and I said he could go, really, I’d be fine, thanks so much for trying to help.

(I wonder if perhaps I need to work on perfecting my damsel in distress routine.)

So I sat there and I did a little Facebooking (what? isn’t that a word?) on my phone while I waited for the tow truck, and some other dudes arrived. They offered to try to get my car un-stuck and I told them sure, go ahead, though at that point, the snow had drifted even higher around my car — I couldn’t even open the door, despite my earlier snow-kicking routine (which, by the way, has got to be excellent exercise for toning the thighs — look for my new workout video soon!) and they tried. Bless them, they tried. But no luck. And then (cue fanfare) the tow truck arrived! Hurrah!

Boys and girls, it’s time for an aside.

I’ve had lots of experiences in my life, many of which have threatened my well-being, but before that night I’d never had the experience of sitting in my car, stuck near a cornfield, watching gale-force wind whipping snow across the barren land. It is a singular experience. Haunting and desolate, but the landscape was beautiful, if not also a bit murderous. The snow blowing off the field came in waves; the waves looked like solid white walls. It was breathtaking, though if I hadn’t had my phone with me (or I wasn’t able to get a signal, what with being in the middle of bumfuck nowhere) and I hadn’t been aware that help was on the way, I think I would’ve been terrified. Because, you know, it was like a scene out of a horror film. Cue psycho with ax.

End aside.

The tow truck driver (I got a text asking if he was hot, and alas, no such luck) towed my car backwards out of the ditch, then dragged it down the road, past all the knee-deep drifting. Then he followed me to I-94, which was clear, if not like driving in some kind of weird snowy wind-tunnel, and I made it home. From the time I left the office, until the time I got home, all it took was about an hour and a half. (Normal commute time: twenty-ish minutes.)

You’d think by that point I’d have filled my quota of getting stuck in snow, but if you think that, you’re wrong. The next day, I got stuck AT THE END OF MY DRIVEWAY. And then by Friday, all the snow that was stuck in the undercarriage of my car from all the getting stuck in the snow that I had been doing made my car impossible to drive at a speed above 40 mph (which I did not discover until I got on I-94 and tried to go 70). Good times, friends. Amazingly good times.

This is why I have decided that I’m going to hibernate until spring. See you in April!

5 thoughts on “getting home is hard to do

  1. I shouldn’t laugh. I know this. Yet I have this very vivid image of you kicking the snow away from your tires. I had to do that one too many times before I broke down and invested in a shovel (and two ice-scraper thingies). You might be thinking, “Well I don’t really need a shovel, but then Mother Nature will come and make you her bitch.

    Seriously, though, glad you were able to make it home safely.

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  2. No, it’s okay to laugh. I thought the whole thing was pretty funny. I suppose if I hadn’t thought it was funny I would’ve been upset. But yeah, a shovel would’ve been pretty handy, though I’m not sure how much good it would’ve done in that particular case, since the snow was so deep. Though maybe if I’d had one, when those men stopped to help, I could’ve at least said “I have a shovel! (Please don’t use it to kill me and then bury my body in this field.)”

    I do have an ice scraper though. I don’t think living through winter in Michigan is possible without one.

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