Warning: This story contains a plethora of complaining and overly dramatic descriptions of one woman’s experience driving in the snow. If it triggers you to send this woman affirmations or messages that read “It could have been worse” ,please move along to a happier, fluffier, more inspirational post. This isn’t it.
I almost died in a gas station bathroom. But before that, I was wishing I would die so I wouldn’t have to sit in my car on the freeway while it was closed down for an accident because three flakes of snow fell and people lose their damn minds. Every year. Every year the same people who have roots so deep in this state that they think it represents all of America, forget that we get snow. Then they forget that snow makes roads slippery and then they think “Well, fuck it…I have four wheel drive.” And then 5,000 of my closest car buddies and I end up parked on the largest freeway in Salt Lake City on a Wednesday evening.
I’m wishing for death because my car has been in park for 45 minutes and I’ve already been away from home for 8 hours at a job that drains me of any and all patience. I dream of jumping out of my car, standing on the roof, and getting the attention of the semi truck driver next to me so we can commiserate on how fucking ridiculous this is.
“Can you believe this? We are parked on a freeway and I have two boxes of wine that I just bought that I can’t even drink it because even though I’m not driving, I’m in my car and may have to drive at some point. Maybe.”
“I know. But why are you standing on the roof of your car in snow storm with no coat on?”
It’s like that truck driver thinks he’s my mother.
I don’t get out of my car, but I do look longingly at those boxes of wine. Then we start moving!! Three inches. We move three inches and then I put my car in park and pray for a quick death. On NPR they are playing a piece that I think is very fitting in my current situation, it is about how people freeze to death and it was written so the listener feels like they are the one who is freezing to death. Am I freezing to death and this whole traffic thing is just part of the hallucinations that happen before I strip my clothes off? Maybe i fell in the parking lot of the liquor store and I’m reaching a body temperature of 97 degrees because no one thought the lady with two boxes of cheap wine was freezing to death, they just assumed she was taking a power nap before tackling the wine housed in Ziploc bags.
But I’m not freezing to death. It’s worse than that. I’m finally moving and all 6 lanes are going into one lane and once I’m clear of the accident, I realize the road is covered in three inches of freezing snow. I crawl through it in a lane of my own creation. The snow piles higher and higher and I realize that my windshield wipers are freezing to my windshield while they are moving. Did you know that could happen? I have a 5 inch by 5 inch viewing area and my car is sliding from side to side and now I know exactly how I die. My car will slide into the cement barrier that is only feet away, I will spin in six circles and get plowed into by the truck behind me who is clocking 60 mph because he has 4 wheel drive and cottage cheese for brains.
But then I don’t die there either. I pull off the freeway and into the parking lot of a gas station where i call my husband and blow the whole thing out of proportion for his entertainment. I’m sobbing and explaining in dramatic detail how bad the roads are and how I’m sure I’m going to die driving home.
“You should just get a motel and stay the night.”
This should be a relief, but it’s not because I just want to be home drinking my Ziploc wine, not hanging out in some shitty motel with a semen covered polyester comforter that doesn’t even keep me warm.
We agree I will trek home. And by we, I mean that I told my husband that I was going to drive home and I did it while my voice was cracking so he would understand that I was being a real hero in this whole situation. (Even I can’t deal with myself sometimes.)
Then I get out of my car and head into the gas station of death because I have been holding in 20 ounces of coffee, 32 ounces of water, and 6 shots of espresso for the last two hours. And I didn’t have an empty plastic cup large enough for my needs or else I would have been hunched in my back seat pissing in that.
Upon entering the gas station, I realize that all but one of the frozen vehicles parked out front belong to the people who have already been killed and placed in the ice cream freezer. The other one belongs the giant man taking up far too much space at the register. He’s staring directly at me, his tree stump arms crossed and the nest of messy white hair revealing his lack of care for personal hygiene.
I smile. Am I sure I can’t pee in my car?
“Hey” I say in a voice that reveals I would be the perfect victim for a late night homicide, “The roads are pretty bad out there. I just really need to use the bathroom, I’ve been sitting on the freeway behind a bad accident forever. And I still need to get to Tooele by myself.”
This is one of my many personality issues….when I get scared that I’m in the same room with a serial killer I have a tendency to tell them about my entire life, where I live, and how alone i really am right now. Easy target doesn’t even begin to explain it.
As I make my way toward the bathroom, Charles Manson’s twin brother begins to move away from the register and toward the same bathroom I am heading to.
“They won’t have those road plowed until tomorrow morning.” His words come out deep and scratchy, the way I imagine my voice will sound if I live to 99. Which I won’t because I’m going to be snuggling up to Popsicles very soon.
I awkwardly laugh and open the bathroom door only wide enough to squeeze my body in, close it quickly and lean against it with all my body weight anticipating what I will do when Mr. Manson pushes on the door. But he doesn’t. He’s probably sharpening his gutting knife or checking on his other bodies. I run into the stall, push the pee out my bladder like my life depends on it, and leave the restroom without washing my hands. BECAUSE I AM GOING TO DIE ANYWAY.
When I get close to the front door, I peek back to see if he’s waiting in the darkened corner of the store for me to come grab a Redbull before he slits my throat. But he’s gone. So I run out the front door and into my car, locking the doors with a fury only seen in horror movies. Then I feel a wave of guilt crash over me. I used that bathroom and didn’t even attempt to buy anything. The least I could have done was to pony up for a Snickers bar or one of those jerky sticks everyone touches but never buys. I just hope the Universe understands that I’m not an evil person, I just thought I was going to get murdered in a gas station bathroom.
Now I want some jerky.