yesterday I left work early, I was not feeling so well. I wasn’t even going to go in, but I was sitting there in bed trying to get the energy to call in and suddenly I remembered that our snow day the previous Friday had fuggered the payroll and I HAD to go in to do payroll or nobody in my department would get paid (and, seriously, nobody has the energy to deal with the damned monkeywrenches in my department. These guys got problems and I’m certainly not going to be the one to compound their issues.)
I dragged my ass into work, I did payroll in record time and I left. I cranked the heat in my car and daydreamed about my bed…new, clean sheets, freshly washed down comforter, not 1 but 2 soft snuggly dogs…that warm light filtering in from the window…my security blanket under my head…God, I wanted to be there. I so wanted to be in my perfect bed.
I drove home in a daze of hope (a responsible daze, mind you, not one of those dazes where you suddenly find that you’ve driven over an old lady on her way to receiving her ‘old lady of the year’ award for being 97 but still able to save 47 babies and 16 puppies from a firebreathing hoodlum, because you totally can’t spin that in a good way on the news ‘i didn’t mean to run her over…I was just daydreaming about my bed’…’well, there you have it, local green haired girl admits fantasizing about filthy sex life while killing heroic grannies’. I fucking hate the media). When I reached the alley I went into ‘enter alley in the winter’ mode, which is different from ‘enter alley in the summer’ mode. ‘Enter alley in the summer mode requires me to enter the alley slowly and to be on the lookout for loose dogs or children that might leap in front of my car. Entering the alley in the winter is a whole different monter.
The end of the alley that i have to enter from has a very steep incline that faces south. Through the processes of inadequate city plowing and southern exposure sunlight, the surface of the alley is covered in slick glaze ice. It’s hard to walk on it, especially with dogs pulling on you. It’s even harder to drive a heavy car on it. You have to pull into the alley part way, then back straight out and back directly into the alley across the street. When you are sure no one is coming you gun it and force your way up the hill. I did this. I triumphantly crested the mountain and discovered it was all for naught. There I was, less than a block from snuggle city and what do I see in front of me? The city recycling truck. Fuck.
I had two options. I could pull into a driveway and wait for them to drive by or I could back out of the alley and just go park in front of the house. I decided it would be quicker to park in front of the house.
You know that this was the wrong decision simply because I am writing about it. Rarely do I write about my correct decisions, they are few and exceedingly mundane.
My car is a very heavy car. The Swedes at Volvo take an incredibly dense piece of lead, something they patented called über-leåd, and then they build the S-80 around this piece of lead. The lead does nothing for the performance of the car, but there are 8 pages dedicated to it in the manual (how to care for it, how it affects planetary wobble, use of seat belts with it etc). With such a heavy car, doing simple maneuvers like going in reverse down a hill covered in ice are nearly impossible. Within seconds my car slid 45 degrees and both the front and the back were stuck in snowbanks.
I did the only thing I could think of to do, I put it in drive, cranked the wheel and gunned it. While I was excited to hear my car make such an amazing noise and fling snow everywhere, my car did not actually move. Putting in reverse and gunning it got the same noise/snow response but also made the car move in the wrong direction regardless of how I turned the wheel. I repeated these steps eight more times, always with that stern hope of the retarded that it might just suddenly work. Then I did the next best thing, I got out of the car, walked from one side to the other, inspected the packed snow, fell down on the ice and then repeated the “gunning” steps. They still didn’t succeed.
The kindly old lady in the house on the corner came out and offered me the use of a phone or shovel. I asked her for the shovel. By this time the recycling truck had made it’s way down the alley to me. Normally, I would be mortified by this but a) mostly I just wanted to go home and go to bed and b) if I know anything about burly minnesota men, they are always kind and totally driven to be manly. I knew beyond a doubt the second they jumped out of the truck they would get my car out of the snow.
- shoveled snow
- tried to lift my car (I’m not lying about this)
- laid on the ground in front of my car
- laid on the ground behind my car
- called a second city truck to come help
- shoveled more
- talked about various instances they had gotten stuck in the snow
- complimented my hair (it’s newly green)
- called a THIRD city truck to come help because the second truck they called came from the wrong end of the alley and got stuck behind the first
- marvelled at the fact that my car is built with a block of über-leåd but had NOTHING to attach a tow cable to
- attached a tow cable to my rear axle and had the city sand truck pull me out of the snow
The other thing about Minnesotans is that they do not stick around for gratitude. I was thanking them profusely and they waved it off with a smile telling me they were more than happy to do it. and you know what? I know they were.
I parked up front, went inside, made some coffee and called my sister. I talked on the phone for two hours and never took that nap, but I didn’t mind.