It was a cold and snowy Saturday morning. I had woken up early so that I could enjoy a hot tea and a relaxing read before work. Usually, I’m running around my apartment until the very last minute (no matter how early I get up) and am forced to rush out the door with just enough time to drive to work. But, I knew that I would need to warm my car up before work that morning, so I somehow managed to wake up before it was absolutely necessary.
And miraculously, I was walking out the door at the time I wanted to. Fifteen minutes before I needed to leave, I went out and started warming up my car. I carefully and thoroughly cleaned off the windshield, the hood, even the top of the car. This is pretty uncommon for me–I’m more of a “let the windshield wipers do what they can and the rest is left to fate” kind of winter driver, where I drive looking through the small defrosted portion of the windshield and no other vision available. But that morning, I had the time, and I felt like doing a good job.
At the time, my brother was staying with me, and he worked at about the same time as me that morning. We work together, and so a few minutes after I went out to warm up the car, he followed me out there, and we sat in the car while it continued to defrost. It was early, and the snow was blanketed across all the cars and houses.
Finally ready to leave, I put the car in reverse and went nowhere. Went nowhere?
My tires were spinning.
I live on somewhat of a hill, and half of the parking lot is angled down. So I needed to back up on an incline and then I could get out of the spot and drive away. But I couldn’t go back. My tires were spinning.
Well, I have really bad tires. The first day of snow this season, it became apparent to me I needed new tires, as I was slipping and sliding and ice skating all over the road. But, I don’t like sinking hundreds of dollars into my car when I don’t give a crap about cars, so I have willfully opted to deal with what I have.
Unfortunately, that meant I found myself in a situation like this.
I ran back into my apartment and grabbed a snow shovel, and came back to try and clear some snow out of the way. My brother had gotten out and was kicking what snow he could to the side, but there wasn’t really even that much snow. The driveway had been plowed, but more snow had fallen, so I thought maybe that would be a problem. I noticed a small tractor plow down the hill, and so, in my work uniform–which is black pants and Converse–I ran down this snowy hill and flagged this dude down.
“I’m stuck. Would you be able to plow some snow out of the way?”
The guy agreed, although it was obvious he didn’t give a shit whether I was stuck or not, and I ran up the hill again. My brother was in the car again, where it was warm. I was determined that we were going to get out of there one way or the other, but he was looking up Lyfts and Ubers just in case.
The snow plow guy trailed behind and started pushing away snow as my brother and I talked about our options. After a few minutes the plow stopped and I got out to talk to him.
“I did what I could, but that’s all ice.”
It was clear he was done with his involvement in this.
Ice. I peeked under my car–yup, I could see it now. I didn’t have any sidewalk salt to melt the ice. I could probably use cat litter to gain traction, but I was all out of that. It was getting closer to the time we had to work–I was okay if we had to be late, because I frequently push the boundaries of being late, but my brother was starting to sweat because he’s the one who needs to be at least five minutes early to a shift. In fact, he regularly shows up twenty minutes early. And that day, we risked–gasp!–being exactly on time.
Luckily, I have a number of friends who live incredibly near me. “I’ll call them, and they can give us a ride. We’re not paying for a freaking Uber,” I said.
“There’s none available anyway,” my brother replied. I hadn’t wanted to use Uber, but it wasn’t reassuring at all to know our options were more limited than we even thought. The clock was ticking.
I called my friend–no answer. Damn.
I tried backing up again. Damn!
I called my friend’s boyfriend, and fortunately, he picked up. Of course, his phone was about to die, but he said he’d be up in a little bit.
Once I’m determined, I’m determined though. “He said he’d drive us, but I have one more idea I want to try anyway,” I said to my brother, and leaped out of the car, dashing back into my apartment. I grabbed the container of iodized salt–because although I have multiple decorative salt shakers, I store my salt exclusively in the container it comes from while my salt shakers remain empty since the day I got them–and ran back out to the car. I seasoned the ice behind my tires and got back in.
I went forward a little, then assertively backed up my car. By “assertively,” I mean I punched the gas in a forceful yet not over-zealous manner. It was a valiant effort because lo and behold my car reversed!
We were off, and I shot my friend a quick text that we had managed to succeed on a last ditch attempt! Cheers all around! Well, a “Whoop!” from me and a nervous sigh from my brother.
So much for relaxing before work! I was both hot and cold, frozen and sweaty. My feet were soaking from trudging through snow. I had a container of salt and a snow shovel in my back seat now. I was just glad I had effectively cleaned my car off while I had the chance because my race car driver skills were put to the test as I challenged myself to get my brother to work on time.
And, as his immaculate attendance reflects, I did.
In the end, folks, the lesson is this: never wake up early for work, because no matter how much time you give yourself, you will always wind up rushing around anyway and getting there at the same time–right in the nick of time. And, as always, winter sucks.