Snowed In on the Interstate

February 17, 2010 at 12:50 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

As promised, I’m going to share quite a story today.  The time?  Christmas Eve, 2004 (I think.  It could have been ’03).  The place?  The roads leading from Bloomington, Indiana to Memphis, Indiana.  The situation?  A massive amount of snow blocking my way.

Hindsight is always 20/20 and in retrospect I never should have tried to get home in the first place.  But it was Christmas Eve and I certainly didn’t want to spend the holiday all by myself in an empty apartment, so I decided to suck it up and hit the road.  There were weather warnings galore and if you’re familiar with the stretch of road that winds through Brown County, you know it’s not the safest to begin with.  The stubbornness which I allow to rear its ugly head every so often propelled me to ignore the pleas of my parents, because I was confident in my driving ability.  I did not take into account the fact that weather can make driving damn near impossible, no matter how good at it you are.

The drive in question would usually take me an hour and a half.  This heinous trip took close to eight.  I got out Bloomington with my cat in her carrier and luggage in tow.  I also had water and blankets but I neglected to pack food or…well, another important item that we’ll come to in a bit.  My cat absolutely hates traveling by car and she cried for the entire journey, so that really helped the situation.  I got a few miles outside of town and came up behind a semi that was having a difficult time making it up a hill.  I sat behind that thing for about two hours but we finally started moving again and I figured that would be the worst of it, since I was almost to the interstate.  Oh how I was wrong.

The interstate was literally a parking lot.  I sat for hours at a time without moving an inch and I slowly started to lose my mind.  I would alternate between fits of screaming and pounding the steering wheel to pathetic cries of resignation.  Then I would laugh at my situation a bit and the cycle would repeat.  I called my family incessantly so they could share in my misery.  I was also running out of patience with my cat, who would not shut the hell up.  And I was getting hungrier every minute.  As the hours slowly ticked by, a solution was becoming more and more apparent.  If I ate my cat then I could kill two birds with one stone (remember me talking about losing my mind?  This here is where it got ugly).  I had a few sickish fantasies but ultimately decided it would be too messy to pursue.

So there I sat, hungry and pissed off.  Barring running out of gas, I didn’t think things could get much worse.  Then my bladder began to fill, ever so slowly.  I had just witnessed a man in front of me get out of his car, open the front and rear passanger side doors and relieve himself in between.  Actually, lots of people witnessed this as there wasn’t much else to see or do while we all sat there stranded.  He made it look easy enough but I knew that my lack of grace and coordination wouldn’t possibly allow me to pop a squat in the ice and snow without messing all over myself.  I searched my car and trunk and the only thing I could potentially pee in was a mug I bought for my sister with her sorority letters on it.  Here again comes in hindsight, and I should have just pissed in the damn thing and given it to her anyway.  But no, I decided to take the moral high road and I put it back.  By then I was becoming desperate and was doing the whole little-kid-hopping-dance to stave off wetting my pants.  Trying to compose myself, I walked up to the truck behind me and asked the guy sitting in it if he had anything I could relieve myself in.  He offered me his coffee thermos, which I tried not to take.  Obviously this wasn’t something I could just give right back to him.  He insisted though and told me he had many more at home, so I walked away with a teeny tiny toilet.

I set myself up between the car doors as I had seen the other guy do and got down to business.  I didn’t even care that car loads of people were using my outdoor bathroom experience as entertainment.  I peed.  And peed some more.  In fact, I was so overcome with the glorious sensation of my bladder emptying itself that I completely lost all track of time and space.  I ended up filling the cup in record time and messing all over myself anyway.  So there I stood, with a cup full of my own urine and more of it soaking my pants.  Not my proudest moment.  I dumped out the cup, pulled up the pants and resigned myself to sitting in a cold piss stain for however much longer it took me to get home.  I got back in my car before it could freeze.

A few minutes later, the kind gentleman who gave me his thermos walked up to my window and knocked.  I rolled it down and could see he was having a hard time not laughing right in my face, and then he gave me a bottle of hand sanitizer.  He told me I could probably use it.  I told him he must be Saint Nick in disguise and that yes, I sure could use the sanitation.  He disappeared out of my life after that and eventually his thermos made its way into a gas station trash can.

Not for a while though, because I still had a few more hours of sitting on the road.  After what felt like an eternity, we actually started to creep along.  I was still going crazy and my father told me that if I took the next exit I came to and made a left, I would wind up on Highway 31, which would basically lead me home.  Nothing sounded better than that so an hour later when I approached an exit take a left is what I did.  As I drove, I felt something was off.  It wasn’t just the fact that none of the roads were plowed and my little four cylindar car was in danger of becoming stuck for good.  The route just didn’t feel right, but I trusted my dad and kept on driving.  Again, a mistake on my part.  After roughly 20 minutes and deciding that sitting on the interstate was better than dying on some backwoods street with no one around for miles, I called and told my dad I was turning around.  He got out his trusty map again and realized that I should have taken a right off the interstate rather than the left.  Well that news just made my night, let me tell you.  I sure as hell told him.

So I turned around and inched my way back towards the interstate. By this point the truckers had caught on to the idea of taking the other highway, so there was a bit of a line.  It was nothing compared to the mess I had just gotten out of though, so I began to follow.  That actually worked out quite well as the semis created a nice little path for me.  It was still slow moving, but at least it was moving.

Obviously, I eventually made it to Memphis.  Yes, it was seven hours late and yes, I had lost any resemblance to a normal human being by that point, but I was home for Christmas and that’s all that really mattered.

I had to throw away the jeans.

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