Snowpocalypse and the Great Car Extraction

Snow in the parking lot

The view from my apartment window earlier this afternoon is beautifully snowy, and the snow doesn’t seem to be blocking me in – unlike the great 2010 snow adventure.

Like many residents along the eastern coast of the U.S., I’m home today because of snow. The beautiful fluffy white stuff has been falling steadily for the past nine hours, and I’ve been enjoying some relaxation and my Netflix account. Not bad for a Tuesday.

Actually, while we aren’t expected to get even a foot of snow in today’s storm, the experience does remind me a little of the great snowpocalypse of 2010. Just shortly after that snow event in the DC area, I wrote the below entry about my poor car trouble and the two-feet of snow that kept me apartment bound for longer than I expected. Today seems like the perfect day to revisit that experience. And in case you get to the end of the adventure and are still wondering about my fate, I did finally make it to CVS the next day.

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One time at my apartment complex in the DC area, we had a great snow fall. At the beginning of our great snow as white flakes began to fall on Friday afternoon, I parked my car in a parallel parking spot. The significance of the parallel parking spot will be apparent momentarily. About three days and two feet of snow later, I decided to venture out of my apartment and go to CVS. One can only go without shopping for so long.

I came outside to find that my car had been replaced by a giant marshmallow. More than two feet of snow covered both the vehicle and the surrounding parking area. The car parked directly behind me in the parallel parking spot had already extracted itself from the snow, and the spot was empty – my saving grace for potentially getting myself out of the parking spot. You see, I had a sidewalk full of snow on one side of my car and a wall of snow about two-feet high and three-feet wide on the other side of my car. My best chance for escape was to drive backward into the empty spot and use the hole the other car had created in the snow wall in order to drive out of the parking spot, into the parking lot and, ultimately, over to CVS.

I began to dig my wheels out. I’m not a particularly muscular individual, but I subscribe to the philosophy that slow and steady wins the race. With my little snow shovel, I tackled each wheel with a determined, steady confidence, and just as I could see ground around all four tires, the two-feet of snow on top of my car came crashing down. I should have seen that coming. Commence attempt #2 to find the ground around all four tires.

As I worked, a bulldozer drove into the parking lot. The driver stopped by my handy work and said, “Don’t worry, sweety, I can get you out.” I don’t take kindly to strange men calling me “sweety,” but he had the bulldozer. So, I thanked him and proceeded to wait and see what he would do. He got out of the bulldozer and began to talk with the apartment complex manager, and then the two of them walked off to find a place to dump all the snow so the bulldozer could get to work.

Since it seemed that he might take a while to “get me out,” I continued working on my own. I freed all four tires again and decided to try backing up into the empty space behind me. It took a few attempts and a few more trips around my car with the shovel, but I did eventually succeed in backing my car up. Free at last! Now to drive through the hole in the snow wall. Nope, nevermind, the bulldozer was blocking the hole.

As I waited for the man to come back and move his bulldozer so he could “get me out,” I began to help someone else dig out her car. While we worked, the bulldozer driver and the apartment complex manager determined that the manager’s car should block the entrance to the apartment complex to allow the bulldozer to move as much snow around as possible without having to worry about traffic coming and going. Good plan – unless you are in the parking lot and want to get out and go to CVS.

Alas, I finished helping my neighbor, and then I came back up to my apartment. And now here I sit – shoes wet with snow, arms shaking from physical exertion and stomach growling with hunger – as I write about the experience. I have decided that I will go to CVS later – after the bulldozer has stopped being helpful.

But honestly, to give the poor bulldozer driver his due credit, he did say that he had been moving snow around for the past 72 hours and that more help was needed to really get things moving. I’m thinking that the DC area has no idea how to handle large amounts of snow. Perhaps the local officials also subscribe to my philosophy that slow and steady wins the race. Perhaps when it comes to snow, this is not always the best philosophy.

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