Today's prompt is: The worst place I've been stuck--what happened?
It must’ve been 1988 because I remember perfectly the car I drove, the events leading up to the ‘stuckness’, and what happened after. Back then, we didn’t have cell phones–unless you were well-off…even then, they were the bag kind. If we had, I’m pretty sure my parents wouldn’t have been quite as upset.
It must’ve happened on a Saturday because I didn’t have class all day. Being a music major, I had class five days per week because of the idiotic schedule the profs kept. After working Friday night at a nightclub, I’d gone out for breakfast after closing. Big, fluffy flakes of snow swirled to the ground as I got out of my car and made my way to the garage. I stopped and tilted my face upward, catching snowflakes on my tongue just as the moon must’ve peeked out from behind the clouds.
I reached for the doorknob and had problems getting it to turn–the knob was cold and wet, making it difficult for me to get a good grip even though I’d wiped my hands on my black sweatpants several times. Finally, success.
The garage was warm and inviting. We had a whole-house wood burner out there, which kept the insulated-but-not-heated area toasty. I stopped to stoke the stove, tossing in a few large oak logs–about two and a half feet long and probably eight to ten inches in diameter. Everyone liked having the house warm when I came in around four or five in the morning after a night of bartending.
I quietly entered the house, padding across the linoleum floors after removing my tennis shoes–white Avia mid-high tops–just inside the door. The house was dark, but unless someone had been a smartass since I left for work, I wouldn’t run into anything because I knew the layout of this place like the back of my own hand.
After showering, and pulling a battered paperback from my backpack, I peered out the window again. The snowfall was getting heavier.
I climbed into bed, wrapped in flannel sheets, a heavy blanket with a satin binding, and a crocheted afghan, and read for awhile. The sun wasn’t up yet when I turned off the small lamp beside my bed and promptly fell asleep.
When I woke that morning–or rather, afternoon–I looked out my window again to see the world blanketed in white. And the snow continued to fall.
I heard the house phone ring because it was before the days of everyone having cell phones, remember.
“I think I heard her moving around. Let me get her.”
“She should be getting up anyway. It’s not a big deal. She doesn’t usually sleep past this time very often.”
I heard the receiver for the phone thunk on the counter and my mom came in my room. “Holly is on the phone and wants to talk to you about working tonight. The roads are pretty crappy and the snow is supposed to continue throughout the day.”
“Okay. Are you thinking I should go in or try to stay home?”
“It’s your job. They only pay you if you’re there. Up to you.”
My parents were great at ‘helping’ me make decisions.
I wandered down the hallway and grabbed the phone. “Hey, Holly. What’s up?”
“With the snowstorm, we probably won’t be busy tonight, but there’s a lot of people that have called off already. We’re trying to decide whether to close for the night or whether we should try to stay open. Wanted to check in with you and see what you thought about coming in.” Holly was always a straight-shooter, something I appreciated.
“I have four-wheel drive. I can make it in. If the roads suck, I might need somewhere to crash in town until they plow in the morning, though.” I knew there were several people that lived in town, and we were basically one big, happy family. Some of them lived in rural areas–like me–and had access to 4WD. Others lived in town and would have their homes open to those who couldn’t make it safely home…in the event more snow was dumped while we worked.
“Sweet. You good for 8pm start?” Her voice was hopeful.
“Absolutely. See you then.”
After hanging up the phone, I packed a bag, did some homework, and prepared to leave around 6:30. Being early was good, and tardiness–even under the circumstances created by the weather–was horrible. For me, at least.
I hopped in that copper AMC Eagle after tossing in an overnight bag and telling my parents I’d let them know I made it to work. And if I’d be staying in town overnight.
I made it about halfway there before the road got dicey. There was probably a foot of snow on the unplowed road, and ruts–where other vehicles had driven–made it difficult to stay on my side of the road. I crept along, determined to make it on time, and in one piece.
Mother Nature and the county road commission apparently had other ideas.
A huge 4-wheel drive truck cruised down the road toward me. Down the middle of the damn road.
Fuck. What do I do now?!?
The ditch on my side of the road would swallow my car, but I tried to stay as close to the edge–without leaving the paved surface buried beneath the precipitation–as I could.
It didn’t work.
At some point, a vehicle had veered from the edge of the road toward the middle and my tires got stuck in the rut of packed snow created and drew me toward the center of the thoroughfare. With that damn truck still coming toward me. I fought the wheel and didn’t remember a single thing I’d learned about winter driving when my dad took me to the school parking lot years before.
I’m not really sure what actually happened.
Next thing I knew, I was upside down, tethered to the bucket seat by my seatbelt. The sunroof had broken, and the windshield and side windows were all in tact.
I was trapped. With glass in my hair, wearing sweatpants and Avia tennis shoes. There was a pair of hiking boots in the back–and a blanket–along with anything else I might be able to use to break the fucking glass.
Someone came up to the car and pounded on the door. “You okay in there?”
“Yeah,” I called out. “But I don’t have anything to break a window to get out.”
A rumble of male voices sounded outside the driver’s door. “Go to the passenger side and lean against the door. We’re going to try to tip it over in that direction.”
Okay. Maybe that’ll work. The passenger door didn’t seem to be crunched too badly–most of the damage was on the driver’s side.
It seemed like an eternity. And it didn’t work.
“Shit. Hang on. I’ve got someone coming back with a tire iron to break a window. Stay on the passenger side–we’ll break the driver’s window.”
Another eternity. I hate small spaces.
“Turn away from the driver’s side and protect your face from the glass.”
Like it’d cut much anyway. Safety glass didn’t do that, and I knew it. But, I did as I was told.
The beating of the tire iron on the window vibrated the entire car. It must’ve taken at least a dozen hits before the glass finally fractured and the guys were able to sweep away enough for me to get out.
A lady from across the street was standing at the end of her driveway. “Bring her in here until the police arrive. We can call someone for her.”
I couldn’t reach my parents–I think the phone lines were down due to the storm. So, I called work. Someone came to get me. I worked my shift that night. I finally reached my parents around 11pm. They weren’t happy I went to work, and they weren’t happy about the car, either. But they were glad I was safe and uninjured.
Except the glass in my hair. I swear, I had pieces of that sunroof coming out for a week.
Check out where everyone else has been stuck: