Looking out upon the falling snow from the safety of my living room, I’m reminded again of how we’re all just one bad decision from winding up like the Donner Party.
It all started when the clutch burned out on my wife’s car. With her Toyota in the shop, she had to use my car to drop me off at my part-time job this morning before going on to her job in the opposite direction and in the next county.
It should be noted that I already knew none of my co-workers would be available to give me a ride home, but thought my bases were covered because I had remembered to write down the number for a local taxi company.
Soon enough it was time to go home, but calling the number for the taxi produced no answer, leaving me stranded miles from home with a blizzard on the way.
There are no buses or other form of mass transportation where I live, and since I’m much too ugly to anticipate any success at hitchhiking, there was nothing for it but to start walking, even though snow was forecast to start falling at any moment.
I stepped out at a lively pace, thinking the fresh air would do me good, but it didn’t take long before I realized that this wasn’t doing me any good at all!
“You’re not that young anymore,” I told myself. “You could die out here!”
I sent a frantic text message to one of my neighbors, who said she’d come and get me at some point, but was tied up for the next hour or so. I texted back that I’d keep walking, but would appreciate it if she could come scrape up whatever was left of me when she was free.
By this time the sidewalks had stopped and I was far out in the wilds, humping it up one hill before sliding down into the next valley. Trucks thundered past on the highway, and I had time to consider that at any second I could be splattered onto the bumper of a speeding Utz Potato Chip truck, and that no one would care!
By now the sky had taken on a steely cast; snow could start to fall at any second.
I was growing wearier by the step, but the cruel road signs wouldn’t allow me to rest for a moment. My throat was parched, and as I scrambled through one ditch, I looked for discarded bottles that might contain a single drop of life-giving elixir, but the empty containers only served to mock my thirst.
I was seeing more signs that others had passed this way, but there was no comfort there. While some had evidently enjoyed a happier fate than mine, I felt my own situation was more akin to the Bluebird of Happiness, who I also found, crushed on the side of the road.
By the time I reached the haunted nunnery, I knew for sure I wasn’t going to make it. I thought perhaps I could find a broken window where I could crawl inside to die. It seemed somehow fitting that I would draw my last, shuddering breath in a place clearly abandoned by god.
But just then my phone vibrated. Could this be a sign from the gods? Yes! It was Nicole! Dance class was over, and she was on her way with the kids to save me!
I staggered onward a few paces, crossed the road and nearly collapsed in a spot where she’d be sure to see me. A few minutes later she was there, and what bliss, she had even turned on the seat-warmer for me!
I admit I got a little weepy when I finally limped into my living room and reflected on my narrow escape. The snow started falling just a few minutes after I was safely indoors, and it’s already piling into deep drifts.
Thank you, Nicole! I’m going to make you some enchiladas soon, because without you, I could have died out there in winter’s icy clutch!