Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Traction

I didn't go to work on Wednesday because of this:

[insert photo of snow in my front yard that I was too lazy to take before it got dark at 4:00 and now am too lazy to google images of "snow" to insert here, so cut me some slack and use your imaginations, you assholes]


And also because of this guy:


And, I suppose if we're being totally honest, partly because of this guy as well:

In the interest of full disclosure, which apparently I've just decided to care about, Gray doesn't wear his hat crooked. I slide it over that way every once in a while because I think it's funny. And cute. Don't judge me. He's the one wearing a Fear Factory hockey jersey.

Fucking winter, man. We've been spoiled rotten this year because normally our first big Snowmageddon takes place anywhere from late September to early November, but not THIS year. THIS year, we were walking around all warm and toasty until the second week of December. I'd even convinced myself that winter was taking a sabbatical or global warming was really out of hand, and either way it meant No Winter For Catherine, so I was totally down with that plan.

And then, that bitch Mother Nature put down her crack pipe and was all, "FUCK! I'm late! Must unleash my wrath upon the entire country!" and then it snowed and we all died, The End.

You'd think this would be no big deal for Minnesotans, except you forget it's been 8 months since most of us have driven in snow - you think we're passive-aggressive in our speech? You should see us on the freeway. We will YIELD your ass to death, doncha know? So there's this interim period every winter when we all have to relearn the rules of winter driving, and in the meantime you can plan on getting absolutely nowhere anytime soon.

So Tuesday afternoon, the snow had been spitting all day and while there wasn't much accumulated, the wind was whipping it all around and causing what they call a "white out" situation, and Gray was all worried about me (the non-Minnesotan) driving home unattended. Because I'm a woman so obviously I don't know how to drive under the most primo conditions. Ah, misogyny masked as chivalry, isn't it grand?

Yet he insisted he had a "bad feeling" and decided to cut out of work early to follow me home in his truck. So we're on the highway going, oh I don't know, maybe 45 miles an hour behind all the other people who "had a bad feeling" and cut out of work early, and Gray was a few cars behind me. We made it exactly 100 yards when I glanced in the rear view mirror just in time to see him go sideways.

SIDEWAYS.

Across 2 lanes of traffic.

There was even this spray of snow that looked just like the rooster tail on one of those fancy speed boats. Except instead of tropical ocean water, it was snow. And instead of a fancy speed boat full of topless Latinas, it was Gray. In his tiny little truck.

SLIDING IN FRONT OF CARS ON THE HIGHWAY.

Then he bounced across the shoulder and down into the ditch. I believe I muttered something like, "Fuck, HERE WE GO," as I put on my flashers and slowly pulled over onto the shoulder, completely out of sight of the wayward truck, but near enough to help if needed.

Gray called as I was dialing his number and (BRILLIANTLY) said, "I'm in the ditch." Yes, darling, I know you're in the ditch because I fucking had a stroke and DIED when I saw you go in the ditch.

He was going to try to "get a running start" and drive out of the ditch on his own, which meant he'd come speeding up a snowy hill, hit the icy shoulder, and go sliding right back in front of the lanes of traffic. Brilliant idea, right? But what else was there?

Within 30 seconds, I had texted everyone I've ever met to say, "Gray is in the ditch. Please send dope. And the number for a tow truck." I sat watching in my rear view as he backed up and raced forward (actually, I think he tried doing it in reverse a few times), back and forth, until I thought for sure he was stuck down there, when finally he burst up onto the shoulder and, as predicted, rather violently into the oncoming traffic.

Fortunately, the cars seemed to sense his impending arrival and somehow cleared the way for him to "merge" in front of them. I did likewise, and we continued (much more slowly) on the long trek homeward.

And then I noticed his truck was kind of...leany. And that his tire was kind of...squishy. And that's when we realized he had a flat.

We stopped to fill up the tire, and it immediately gushed back out. Not good, I thought to myself, not good at all. But will we be changing a tire? "HELLZ NO," cried Gray, "We shall continue to drive in the darkening, snowy gloom on this flat tire until we've reached the Motherland: Tires Plus."

"Okay," I agreed, "but maybe this time I should follow YOU."

I'll spare you the rest of this story, except to say that apparently everyone on earth suddenly decided that they needed new tires RIGHT! NOW! because it took almost 5 hours to repair Gray's tire (it was a burst bean...wait, that's not right, was it a bubble? A bauble? Fuck, the tire was flat, that's all I know*) which meant that I not only did not study for my final Shakespeare exam on Tuesday night (we were shoveling the driveway, which was covered in powdery-fine snow, so imagine trying to move little piles of dry sand from point A to point B, but IN A TORNADO), but also that I was up super late and had to wake up super early to shovel the driveway and slowly go back to work in the still-falling snow.

I stayed home. Yeah, because I'M the one who can't drive in this shit.

*Bead. A burst bead. Whatever that is.