Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Good Samaritans.

Living in the Midwest means living with Winter. Over the last decade, there's been less snow than I recall having as a child, but the temperatures drop to the same extreme levels. We've had a few snowstorms over the last month that have left hefty deposits. Living in midtown where people have to park on the street, this means that a snowplow comes through and basically shoves a mountain of snow all along the line of parked cars. To get out, you have to dig a path. Then, the freezing temperatures refreeze the snow that tries to melt during sunlight hours, and the mountain of snow is topped with a thick glaze of ice. You may be able to get out of a parallel spot, but unless you've got four wheel drive, you're not getting back into one.

I see a doctor in a neighborhood where I used to live. There were never any parking spaces available when I lived there. As a matter of instinct and memory, I still can't drive down the street without a little excitement mounting if I see an open spot. Though the office building has a parking garage, I love to park behind it on the street. It just feels good to take up a spot on the street for a while. I didn't give any thought to the hills and valleys of snow along the curb; I figured I'd slip into a spot via the tire tracks left by the soul that last possessed it. I figured wrong. I made a u-turn in the middle of the street (the kind for which Goober tried to do a Citizen's Arrest on Barney Fife) and got totally stuck with my car completely perpendicular to the curb. Absolutely no idea what to do. I got out and tried feebly to kick some of the snow that was lodged under the front tires, but it was obvious before I even tried that it hadn't done any good. I usually carry a shovel and some kitty-litter (for traction) in my trunk, but I hadn't gotten around to putting it there yet this season.

Luckily, a sweet girl passed by and asked if I needed some help. She offered to push, but I didn't want her to strain herself. I asked her if she'd mind just steering it while I pushed. The car refused to move. It wouldn't even rock in the snow. It was like I'd driven into quik-dry concrete and was going to be there forever more. A driver in a Land Rover asked if I needed help and we both pushed. Still nothing. A couple of people from across the street were out for a cigarette break. They came over and offered to push, too. Mr. Land Rover suggested that he tow me out since the pushing didn't seem to be doing any good. He hooked up a towing cable, we waited for traffic to clear, and he started to move. There was a loud pop, the cable snapped, and Mr. Land Rover got out of his car. Unfortunately, he didn't put his car in park first. It kept moving, and he jumped in to stop it, accidentally hitting the gas instead of the break. Now, instead of my car blocking one lane of traffic, there was a long diagonal of cars blocking the entire road.

A large group of onlookers had gathered to watch our comedy of errors. "Lookit -- that girl moron got her car stuck and this moron hit another car trying to help her out!" Ah, the kindness of strangers. By this point, a few more people had come over. A very streetwise gentleman told me to get out and he'd fix things. Lo and behold he did. With four of us pushing and him maneuvering back and forth over the massive hump of snow I'd driven into, he was out and free in about a minute.

My car's interior still smells of the cigarello he was smoking.

1 comment:

  1. Great story - coming into Autumn here - luckily our snow stays up on the mountains where it damn well belongs