Wednesday, February 9, 2011

To Die of Pride in the Snow..

I'm not working because I live in Texas, and there is ice. So, time for a story about Illinois winter adventures:

Its winter, circa 2001 in IL. We live on a country road, five miles from the nearest small town and 30 minutes from the nearest town you can do much of anything in. I'm about 16 or 17. I'm supposed to go to Effingham (the bigger town) to pick my sister's boyfriend up and meet my sister when she gets off work. Its snowing like hell, and they forgot to plow our road. After much debate, my dad decides to let me go, but he tells me that the "law of odds" is going to get me.

I go out to my car, and being afraid that dad will change his mind, I decide to get the hell out of dodge as fast as I can. This is bad, because my defog doesn't really work, and I can't see shit yet, but I take off. I get more or less out of the driveway, and drive straight off the road, because like i said, it hasn't been plowed, and my window is all frosty so I can't see where the road is. The snow is probably ten inches deep. I'm stuck. I'm still within view of the house, so dad can see that I'm stuck. He comes driving out there like an asshole, drives past me, turns around and comes back to where I'm stuck, as if to show me just how easy it is to not get stuck. I can tell already he's mad.

I'm right. He is mad. We dig my car out a bit, and he chains it to his little Dodge Omni and eventually we get it out. He's really pissed about the whole thing, and so as he goes to turn his car around, he's driving like he's pissed off. He puts his car in the ditch. He's stuck. So I bring the Oldsmobile around, we dig, we hook up the tow chain, we get the little car out. He heads straight to the house. I very carefully drive up to the hog barn up the road so I can turn around without incident, and very carefully drive home, hanging my head and thinking about how much it sucks to be stuck at home. The time passed since my initial departure is about an hour and a half at this point.

I reach the driveway. Dad is standing at the end of the sidewalk in front of the house, smoking a cigarette. He watches me pull in. I start to get out of the car.

Dad looks at me like I'm an idiot and says, "I didn't go through all that trouble so you could just turn around and come home. Get the hell out of here."

I leave, this time I have tire tracks as a reference and everything is fine once I reach blacktop highway.

After a few misadventures that night (including getting my sister's car stuck) I head home, by myself, to make midnight curfew. I'm depressed about having to leave when I know the fun is continuing for everyone else. It hasn't stopped snowing all night. As I reach the turn off for our road, it is apparent that the road still hasn't been plowed. The indents from our stuck cars earlier have been completely covered. I have no choice. Curfew is god, I've got to go down that road.

About a quarter mile from the house, my car comes to a stop. I'm stuck... on the road. I get out. The snow is almost a foot deep in the low places, its about two feet in the drifts. I'm clearly on the road. I'm just so goddamn stuck I have no idea how to get out of it. I put my floor mats under my tires. I throw it back and forth between reverse and drive, putting the pedal to the floor. Now I'm just stuck in a big cradle shaped indentation in the snow.

The house is within sight of course, and an easy walk. But there is no way I'm asking dad for help with this. There's also no way I am abandoning my car, because then I'll have to tell him why in the morning. I decide to just dig out the entire road up to the driveway with a shovel. I get a shovel. I start digging. After a very long time I realize what a stupid idea that is, and that I've made pretty much no progress. I go back to trying to miraculously drive the car out of it.

 At about 1:45, I am out of ideas. I still am unwilling to wake dad up for help or abandon my car. I have resigned to just dying in my car. I curl up in the passenger seat, staring at the yellow lights from the house as I try to go to sleep. I wonder how long my gas will last sitting here.

  Then behind me there are headlights. A big pickup truck stops behind me, and several drunk ass good old boys from my school get out.

 "You gotta get outa the way!" they say jovially. "We got a party to go to!"

  I look at them like they are idiots. They surround my car, recommending all the things I've already tried. They can't get in front of the car, so they can't pull me out. They grab the shovels and some cardboard and start digging and kicking at the snow in front of the car. Then one of the drunker ones announces "I can get it out, lemme drive."

 He's wasted, but I figure there's no way that car is moving, so I let him try. He throws it in reverse, pulls forward and back a few times, sliding from side to side a little, and then all the sudden, it comes free. He drives it into the driveway. I run behind him, pretty damn happy that I don't have to die of pride in the snow. They go on their merry way.

  Now this story should end with me going in to bed, somewhat annoyed that no one even noticed whether or not I was late. But actually, later that night I was awakened by headlights constantly pointed at the window- my sister's car stuck in the snow, once again, sitting perfectly on the road, just stuck. And better yet, there's someone stuck behind her...