Yup, it’s here. Probably worse than The Children’s Blizzard of January 12, 1888, except without the howling, hurricane force winds, multiple feet of snow and roof-high drifts, or hundreds of deaths, many of them children, hence the name.
Actually, it’s quiet and beautiful, esp. since I don’t have to go to work. But the downside is that I don’t get to experience the divine joy of calling the office and telling them I ain’t coming in cuz I can’t get out of the garage, let alone down the driveway to the road. I lived for that. I’ve never owned a four-wheel-drive vehicle… by choice. One of my fondest winter memories was not working when we were snowed in during the Polar Vortex. Stayed home for a couple of days and watched virtually all of the Lord of the Rings trilogy on DVD.
I once had a big 3/4 ton GMC pickup for a few months. Literally a few months. No idea when or where or why I bought it or how much I got gouged for it, but it must have been in the spring. It was black over silver. Come summer I spent a few $hundreds for a third-party add-on under-the-dash air conditioner, which barely worked, just to add humiliation to disappointment.
Come winter I threw half a dozen cement blocks in the back and hoped for the best. One Saturday a couple of cleaning girls my wife had hired came to clean the house. It had snowed, there was maybe an inch of snow on our driveway. The girls zipped in in a little Ford EXP, the 2-seat coupe version of the Escort. Tiny. Like a roller skate. I decided to get out of their way by going in to town and enjoying the biggest, unhealthiest breakfast I could find. I spent at least half an hour trying to get this pickup down the driveway to the road. Every two feet the rear tires would slide off the edge of the driveway. Half an hour to go 200 feet. I could have walked to town quicker. Then at least I could have justified the breakfast. The girls were done cleaning and ready to leave almost before I got onto the road.
That spring I dumped the truck on a mousy little used car salesman who bent me over his desk and robbed me for the privilege. I figured the trade-in value to be up around four grand. He got a slip of paper from the estimator who (supposedly) evaluated it. He cringed, looked at me, checked it again, cringed again. He was pained, almost physically ill, and I believe it truly broke his heart to tell me what it said: $2700. Of course that kinda broke my heart too. I realized how he had earned the four dozen or so plaques that covered the four walls of his private sales office, floor to ceiling, corner to corner, frame to frame, proclaiming him salesman of the week, salesman of the month, salesman of the year, the decade, century, the millennium. I think I saw one signed by Jesus. Maybe even Moses. But in retrospect I should have asked to see that slip of paper. It probably said something more like the $3500 I’d expected. No matter, the big GMC came and went so quickly it left no trace. My wife has no memory of it. She thinks I’m making it all up.
I’m still tempted to call the old office today and tell them I can’t make it in, just for old time’s sake. And for a sense of smug satisfaction. I still have the number. Unfortunately, they probably don’t even remember me. Not that there’s anything wrong with that!