This past weekend, I was out of town. I was about two hours away from home and obviously needed to return yesterday (Sunday) to get ready for work Monday. The goal was to leave around 1:30 so I could throw some stretchy pants on and watch the Giants start their run to the Super Bowl with my old man. Everything seemed peachy.
Then things began to go from peachy to rotten. About a half hour into my ride home it began to snow. “No problem!” I thought. Not to brag, but I grew up in the Northeast and am comfortable driving in the snow so I while driving in the snow is an inconvenience, it’s nothing that I freak out about. Again, not to brag. But yeah.
Anyways what hit next was the worst whiteout I have ever been in in my entire life. I don’t know if you’ve ever been in a whiteout, but it’s fucking freaky. It’s a total mindfuck because you literally cannot see anything. I wasn’t sure if I was having a stroke, I was dreaming, or someone slipped me some crazy psychedelic drugs before I left, but it was absolutely insane. I mean it was so white and there was nothing else to see that I was half expecting St. Andrew to show up and take me to the pearly gates.
But I’m Ketch so I pushed through with my hard work, grit and determination and came out the other side of this treacherous whiteout unscathed. After I regained my sight of further than a foot in front of my car, I was able to relax and thought to myself “here we go baby, smooth sailing from here on in” and I was imagining myself in a convertible with long hair and sunglasses.
CRACK CRACK CRACK CRACK
Oh boy. Those are not the sounds that should be coming from a car. Instead of the smooth purr of a kitten coming from my engine, I was hearing a jackhammer on asphalt. Then I realized my car was slowing down. I tried pressing the gas and I was going slower and slower. Luckily, I got to the side of the road before my car completely shut off. “Well this isn’t great” I thought.
Now I have had some issues with my Chevy Equinox over the past few months. In fact, a trusted garage in my town told me that if it was him he would “sell the damn thing to cut his losses.” However the car is good in the snow so I was planning on gutting it out through the winter. Now though, I was beginning to realize I should have listened to my mechanic.
But there I was, in a broken car on the side of the highway. I looked ahead, and within eye shot was an exit. I knew I had to get to the exit so I started the car up again. The jackhammer engine was pounding as I trekked to the exit. It honestly felt like a race with time because there were moments where I genuinely believed the car would explode. Somehow though, I was able to get to the exit and turn down the service road towards the small town. That’s when the car stopped again. This time, for good.
I was kind of in the road when the car shut off, but luckily a good samaritan saw this and helped me push the car to the side of the road. I called my parents and was informed that a tow truck was on its way, but it might take up to an hour. I thought “maybe I’d have to start a new life here.” “Maybe I should get out of the car and start looking for some rabbits and other small game to eat.” “I should probably start looking for a stream or brook for freshwater to drink.” “I guess I need to start looking for cans and bottles since I’m homeless now.”
As I sat there in my car, the natives of this small town were mostly quite kind. Many people stopped and asked if I was okay or if I needed help. After about a half hour or so, a man pulled up behind me and just sat there. I had my blinkers on so I wasn’t sure what he was doing. My naive self thought maybe he was going to try and help me. A few minutes went by and then he pulled adjacent to me, motioned for me to roll down my window and said “hey, you should probably move your fucking car.”
I actually began to laugh and responded “Oh okay thanks man. Once my car isn’t dead anymore I’ll get right on that.” The man grunted and sped away. I really appreciated his helpful insight.
When the tow truck arrived, it was pretty neat because I got to ride in the rig. I felt like an absolute badass in the truck with Sean the Tow Truck Man. We talked about speeding throw towns and dipping. I told him I dipped because I wanted him to like me, but the truth is that I haven’t dipped in like two years and every time I dip I get hot flashes and feel like I’m going to throw up and die.
We got to the car place, that was obviously closed because at this point it was about 4:00 on a Sunday and he said “so you got a ride from here right?” I responded with “uhh yeah I guess” and he offered me a dip to stay warm, but I said “no thanks, man. The lady wants me to quit.” He told me “Ha I hear ya” and left.
The car place was a bit out of the town and there wasn’t much around, but I was really hungry and had to piss. I looked around, saw no one so I got out of my car and pissed in the parking lot. I wasn’t even trying to hide my peeing dick from anyone. I figured if anyone was around, they’d see this and either walk the other way or ask if I needed help and if a cop saw me doing it then maybe I’d get thrown in jail which would probably be warmer than sitting in my car. None of those things happened.
The pissing, while relieving, did not quench my hunger. I looked on my phone “places to eat around me” and luckily saw a pizza place that was 0.2 miles away. I had a decision to make: sit in my car in what was essentially an abandoned parking lot for an hour plus, or make the trek 0.2 miles westbound to a pizza place. I decided the latter and began my journey.
It was dusk. I climbed the hill, bundled in sweatshirt, sweatpants, a coat and sneakers. I got about half way there (or 0.1 miles into my voyage) and the wind was blowing so hard that I had to stop and go in a gas station. I walked in and just stood there shivering. The lady behind the counter must have thought I was a legitimate homeless person or nomad. I bought a small coffee and decided it was time to keep moving, as daylight was running out.
After another 50 yards or so, I saw the neon lights and knew that not only the pizza place was close, but that it was open. However there was a problem: there was basically a cliff separating me from the plaza. Take a look at figure one:
I had to go down this small road, through what can only be described as a junkyard and then across this field that was coated in ice. When I came out of the field and walked around the front of the plaza, I knew I had beat the elements. I knew I survived and that I would survive. My natural animalistic instincts took over and for a while, I was a man of the land. There’s no
chance in hell doubt in my mind that I could have survived off the land and began a new life as a pioneer. But alas, I was saved by the pizza place. What a day.