Friday, February 12, 2010

States of Emergency, Shakers of Salt, and Samaritans in the Snow

We were still under our blizzard-of-the-century induced State of Emergency when I decided to attempt my daily 70 mile drive to work this morning. The SOE seemed to be somewhat a precautionary courtesy, as the driving bans had been lifted overnight. My thought was to see how the roads were and if they were still treacherous, I'd turn around and take yet another vacation day.

So I was pleasantly surprised to find the highways and byways of my adopted state practically pristine. And, not hearing much out of the ordinary on the traffic reports, I actually started to relax. I might have even allowed a daydream to flitter into the morning, as the first song I heard on the radio caused me to sing along.

"Wastin' away again in Margaritaville, lookin' for my lost shaker of salt ..."

Yes, indeed, what I wouldn't do to be wastin' away in Margaritaville, I thought, driving onward.

An hour and about 68 miles later, I exited off the final highway of the morning, merging onto the four-lane major road that leads into the urban suburban city where my office is located. There, it seemed as if I entered a world time forgot - or, more accurately, a world where snowplows and salt trucks forgot.

Seems that Jimmy Buffett ain't the only one who has lost his shaker of salt, I thought. This freakin' town seems like it has lost theirs, too.

Because trust you me when I say this road looked like it was plowed by someone who had one too many margaritas. Two days post blizzard, there still wasn't a single speck of asphalt to be seen. Still, the roads were somewhat passable and I wasn't too concerned. My workhorse Chevy HHR was navigating the skating rink just fine.

Until I turned onto the street that leads to my office's parking lot.

Which is where I promptly encountered this:

(Yes, because my car got stuck in this tundra of insanity, I did what any reasonable blogger person would do, which was to whip out my BlackBerry to snap a picture. My only thought was that there was no way my car nor I were making it out of this in one piece, so my insurance claim might be bolstered by having documentation. OK, I might have thought about the blog, too.)

It only looks like that's the road, but no ... that's several inches of snow and a thick veneer of solid ice. We're talking a version of Bumper Cars From Hell, a fishtailing-sliding-slipping-out-of-fucking-control-of-the-wheel free-for-all. You've got two rows of cars and buses making their way down a snow covered road built in Colonial times (one that has no business being a two-car width road on the best of days) with cars parked (or, more likely, abandoned).

Oh, and did I mention this is a hill? So imagine the scene of cars skidding up as well as down a hill. And getting stuck.

Which, of course, promptly happened to me. And to the taxi driver (not pictured) to my left. Which is why the guy in the photo above has his door open. Because the bus driver and the taxi driver had started to get into an altercation.

Taxi driver, rolling down his window at me: "What do you think I should do?"

Mind you, my car is just as stuck as his.

Me: "I don't know."

Bus driver, who has gotten off his bus (probably to the consternation of his passengers, who likely wanted to throw him under it) remarked helpfully:

"You need a shovel."

Taxi driver: "I don't have one."

Bus driver: "You need a shovel."

Taxi driver: "I don't have one."

This goes on for about a minute, with Taxi Driver asking me, intermittently, what he should do. Which is when Dude Opening the Car Door in the Photo enters the scene, holding a dustpan. A dustpan! To dig a spinning car out of the remnants of two feet of snow!

Meanwhile, there was some guy standing on his steps, just watching the scenario unfold. After about a few minutes, he had the brilliant idea that if he pushed my car out of the drift I was in, traffic on his street could move again. He did, and somehow, my car became unstuck with one push. I gunned it, and headed toward the intersection at the end of the hill, which was somewhat passable.

At that point, mere yards from my office door, I'd had enough. Shaken, I pulled over and called The Dean. I was coming home. Then I called my boss to explain the road situation around our office. We were both in the vicinity of the same coffee shop. We sat there for two hours, caught up on projects, strategized, and called it a day.

And then I drove back home, deciding that I needed to listen to music instead of my audio book. Calmer and caffeinated, there was still a part of me that was a little unnerved (because there is no feeling like having no control over one's car on a slippery street with a bus coming toward you). Stunned that I somehow made it down the hill with car and driver unscathed, I turned on the radio again.

"Before she knew it she was spinning on a thin black sheet of glass ...." sang Carrie Underwood.

"She saw both their lives flash before her eyes

She didn't even have time to cry, she was so scared

She threw her hands up in the air

Jesus, take the wheel, take it from my hands

'Cause I can't do this on my own ...."

No, none of us can, can we? Jesus at the wheel, that frozen concoction (at home) that helps me hang on, a push, a dustpan ... whatever it takes. Bring it on, 'cause I need it all.

Because you guessed it ... there's another 6-8" of snow in the forecast for Monday.

copyright 2010, Melissa (Betty and Boo's Mommy, The Betty and Boo Chronicles) If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.


Niksmom said...

You are a brave woman to have ewven made the attemp. Yikes. Here, have a's on me! ;-)

IMOK said...

Hi there! I've been in a whirlwind lately and am enjoying catching up on your news. I actually am sorry I missed the snow here by a day. But we "only" got about 8 inches or so.

Anyway, I'm glad to know you may be headed to NY, especially if there is a chance we can get together? You're welcome to stay at our place. Full disclosure: it may not be comfortable sleeping in our computer room when you're used to a house, but it's free and a bus ride away. Other alternative - I can check if A's hotel has any friends and family discounts, although sometimes hard to come by for any holiday weekend. Let me know!

Melissa (Betty and Boo's Mommy) said...

Niksmom ~ can you arrange for that margarita to come with a beach and a cabana boy? :)

Great to hear from you, IMOK! Hmm ... this might very well be a possibility. (I've slept in worse places than your computer room, I am sure.) I will definitely email you about this, and I definitely want to hear what your whirlwind has been all about ...

JoAnn said...

No, you aren't really going to get another 6 - 8?! Are you? Snow like that might delay school an hour or two here- maybe close it for a day if the kids are lucky - but we've got all the equipment in place to deal with it. Can't believe how hard your area is getting pounded this winter