Polar Plunge: The Most Fun I’ve Ever Had Jumping Into Freezing Cold Water During the Winter for Charity…Ever.
Catchy title, no? Yes, last Saturday I made the mistake–err, had the honor of participating in the Polar Plunge. For those of you who do not know what the Polar Plunge is, allow me to attempt to explain it in the most objective way that I can. Every year, in the dead of winter, a group of people cut a hole into the layers of ice that cover Lake Mendota in Madison, Wisconsin (although this happens in different locations across the United States) to reveal the freezing cold water below. The reason for doing this, of course, is to make people jump into it for charity, with a minimal donation of $75. Yes, for the low, low price of $75 you can dunk your body into the chilled dirt-water of the lake. I lost my objectivity there a bit, but my point still remains.
The Special Olympics of Wisconsin has held this event for quite a few years now. Somehow, in either an act of pity or of a sheer lapse in judgement, I agreed to be a part of this event along with a team of other first time jumpers. Our team name: The Chunky Dunkers. Yeah. None of us had a clue what to expect, and several of us just assumed we’d die or at the very least contract hypothermia in the process. I was one of those people. Luckily that was not the case. Lucky for me–as I don’t particularly want to die–and lucky for the paramedics because if I were in any way under the impression that I was drowning, I would flail like a baby coming out of the womb (or for my nerdy friends, like Magikarp in Pokemon, which is not very effective). Have you ever seen a fish out of water? That is me in water. Water and I mix about as well as concrete and anything else because concrete doesn’t mix with anything. So of course, jumping into water that has to have ice removed from it seems like a fantastic idea for me.
Enough whining, though. The task was completed with little mishap. In fact, it wasn’t nearly as brutally painful as I had feared. I spent most of the time leading up to the event shaking uncontrollably, an occurrence that had less to do with the fact that it was below freezing and I was standing around in shorts and more to do with the fact that I was so utterly and completely nervous that I couldn’t hold my hand still. I spent the walk to the platform essentially waddling because that was the only motion I could get my body to do in order to move forward. Knees locked, feet frozen in place, I shivered up with my fellow victims–I mean participants. We stood, staring down at the water. It was a little too late to back out now. Also, we were on a giant projector screen. At this point it was a simple debate of what would be more embarrassing; jumping into freezing cold water and screaming like a little girl or running away screaming like a little girl (I scream like a little girl a lot, it turns out). This is a legitimate question that ran through my head and, by the looks on the faces of some of my teammates, I was not the only one considering it. Most of them were girls though, so, you know. The screaming like a girl would be more acceptable for them.
The countdown to jump began and it was at that point I realized I had no choice but to jump. So jump I did. A weak, short, waining, wounded bird falling from the sky jump, but a jump. For those of you wondering if the water was cold, Yes. Ninth circle of Hell cold (that’s the one that’s ice). I know I got from the water to the hot tub that waited for plungers to warm up in, but I couldn’t tell you how. I was pretty confident that my legs weren’t moving, or even attached to my body for that matter. I’m assuming in a moment of complete disarray, my body pushed me out of the water and up a row of stairs to the hot tub as my brain screamed obscenities to my nervous system for overloading it. But I survived. The hot tub felt luke warm, but I couldn’t exactly feel any part of my body so I’m sure it was probably heated properly.
All in all, the event was more than worthwhile. As a team we raised over $2,000 for the Special Olympics, a more-than worthy cause. Even if they did essentially get people to pay to watch me throw myself into below-freezing lake water. It was an experience nonetheless, and another goal off my check list. Now that my hands have finally stopped shaking enough for me to type this, maybe I can hold a book steady enough to read it and cross off some more goals.
After spending the end of my last post talking about how it’s difficult to blog about events that are still taking place, I figured I should totally do it again anyway.
As a citizen of Madison, Wisconsin and a registered voter, I would be remissed to not touch on what is happening at the capitol building of this city. Before getting to that, let us first set the stage of how we got here. The state gubernatorial elections took place last November and yielded a heavy favor to Republican candidate Scott Walker. From the very start of his campaign, he ran on a platform of vowing to cut benefits and wages of state workers. One of his first acts as governor of Wisconsin was, to what should have been no surprise, attempting to pass a bill that would eliminate many of he collective bargaining rights of union workers. Included in this was the loss of negotiating benefits, the limiting of discussion on wages, and raising pension and health care contributions. This proposal was met, also to no surprise, with some reservations from state workers and union members. Seeing as the state of Wisconsin is the largest employer in the state of Wisconsin, it seems like a strange fight to pick. Yet, here we are. But I’m not worried about the politics of it all. I’m not going to tell you what side is right and what side is wrong. The intentions of Scott Walker have been made remarkably clear by Scott Walker himself, and the contents of his bill can be readily found online. What I am more interested in is the response to Scott Walker’s bill.
On Friday, February 11, 2011, Mr. Walker openly discussed his plans for the state budget and how he planned to cut away at the state’s deficit and rein in spending. Rumors swirl of protests to be made by union members across the state. Walker readies the Wisconsin National Guard in case of massive strikes. On Monday, February 14, 2011, it was made clear that Walker would attempt to pass the bill as quickly as possible. Small protests begin at the capitol building in Madison, Wisconsin. On Tuesday, February 15, 2011, it is announced that Scott Walker will make his budget address not at the capitol building, where protests were now in full force, but at Vita Plus, a local livestock food manufacturer. It was intended to have a Legislative meeting at Vita Plus, a privately owned business that could block protestors from being near the legislative process, but as it turns out, that would be illegal. Over the course of Wednesday and Thursday, the size of the protests grew larger. Reports of over 25,000 people were widely spread. Unions across the United States began to join in a show of solidarity for the members of the Wisconsin unions. Madison became the hot spot of national headlines. President Barack Obama made a point to comment on the ongoing situation, calling it an “assault on unions.” Walker replied with a vaguely threatening “stay out of my business.”
If one followed every point of this event, one would see two very different but very important branches of “new” democracy. On one hand, you have Governor Scott Walker, who is attempting to force feed legislation down the throats of the people on the grounds that he’s in power and he knows what is best. On the other hand, you have a huge group of a frustrated and motivated work force who oppose the proposed changes and are making their voice heard. I fear, as we all should regardless of political affiliation and position in regard to this particular issue, that American democracy is headed in the direction that Mr. Walker is taking it. While change comes in many forms and is often feared by some, it should never be an action of brute force. This is a lesson that Mr. Walker has yet to learn. With every piece of opposition that he is met with, he has responded with threats of flexing his power, manipulating laws, and telling others to “stay out of it.” This is not how a system in which elected officials represent the citizenry works. On the other hand, the protestors who so strongly oppose this bill are willing to “shut down the state” in order to make their voices heard. They remain stagnant on the steps of the capitol, making their voices impossible to ignore. When the citizenry oppose the government, this is what needs to happen. The electorate do not exist to be ignored at all times aside from elections. They are a living constant in the process of democracy. The system of checks and balances in the United States government include the legislative, executive, and judicial branches. This is what we are taught. But what is often forgotten in the checking process is the constituency, the voting public. If you oppose a piece of legislation, it is your job to make your voice heard. What is happening in Wisconsin isn’t about what side is right and wrong. It is about a group of citizens standing up to a politician because they feel wronged. What is happening on the steps of the Wisconsin capitol is democracy live.
And if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go be a part of it.
Since part one of this series of posts, a lot has changed in Egypt. Have you ever put something in the oven and then forgot about it until you smelled burning? Egypt smells like burning. Everyone turned their back for a minute and suddenly a dictator has stepped down the military is in control. It also appears the fire of Egypt is spreading across the region as Iran and Bahrain have seen protests in the past few days. Because of this, my interest has shifted from “why did this happen?” to “what the hell is going to happen?”
First, it’s important to understand that with the military in control, Egypt is still under emergency law which allows censorship, suspends the constitution, and allows police to arrest and jail citizens without charge. Basically, emergency law states, “You know those rights you have? Yeah, we’re gonna need those back.” It has been in place place since Hosni Mubarak took control and is how he maintained his power for thirty years, because it’s hard to speak out against someone who just arrests you and prevents anyone from reporting it. The Egyptian military has vowed to address all issues that the citizenry has requested, and most likely will as the majority of military personel are serving as part of Egypt’s minimum service requirements. The military has been on the side of the protestors for the majority of the protest process and it more than likely won’t change now. The military has thus far dissolved the parliament and plans to organize elections to take place in six months. Until then, they plan to amend the constitution, presumably changing the first amendment to “No assholes as government officials.” Hopefully one of the new amendments will also state that the constitution can’t be suspended, it’d be a shame to have them write a whole new one just to have it ignored. The military also stated it would abide by all international treaties, including their peace treaty with Israel, which is relieving to Israelites who are freaked the fuck out. They’ve had a rough history with Egypt. Something about plagues, I’m not sure. It’s all very vague.
So with Egypt’s future hanging in the balance and constantly changing over the course of the next six months, it’s been very hard to write a blog post about. They won’t stop changing things. If you watch the news feed constantly roll in new footage and stories and pictures, it’s easy to lose track of what exactly is going on.
If you follow the major news networks, you know the concern as Egypt builds their new government is influence of a group called the Muslim Brotherhood. If you have as much understanding of them as the major news channels, you know nothing of them aside from their name and they are probably scary. Let’s cover a few things about them first.
What is the Muslim Brotherhood?
The Muslim Brotherhood is the oldest and largest Islamist political group in the world. It aims to use the Qur’an as the reference point for laws and home life. This seems extreme to some, mostly those who consider America to be a Christian nation and think the Bible should be the point of reference for laws and home life.
Is the Muslim Brotherhood a violent organization?
Yes and no. They do not condone violence, nor have they since their inception in 1928. Despite this, it has been accused of inciting violence throughout the Arab states at various points in its history, generally when it supports the removal of a governing body such as British control over Egypt in the 1940′s. There have been several groups that have broken off from the Muslim Brotherhood who have turned to violence, but they are not representatives of the Brotherhood. They often distance themselves from the Brotherhood because of the Brotherhood’s conservative position in regards to violence.
Is the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization?
They condemned the attacks of September 11, have distanced themselves from terrorist organizations, and have been criticized by Osama bin Laden for betraying Islamic leader Sayyid Qutb. So in short, no. I feel like if you get criticized by Osama bin Laden, you’re doing pretty good at not being a terrorist organzation.
How strong is the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt?
In 2005 they won 20% of the seats in parliament by running as independents, giving them the largest opposing majority of the dictatorship disguised as a republic with emergency law (Fun fact for next time, no emergency lasts 30 years, let’s catch on a little quicker). Because of their success in the 2005 election, the Muslim Brotherhood and its leaders were rewarded with jail sentences and a ban from the country’s politics. Currently it is assumed that the members of the Brotherhood being held captive will be freed, and they will continue what they have done throughout the entire protest process: remain nonviolent and supportive of a democratic government. Those radicals.
If things ever slow down in Egypt, maybe I can write a competent blog post with some decent information, but as it stands and things are all over the place, it’s difficult to do. Hopefully this will give you a better understanding of the current state and the future of Egypt, and why the Muslim Brotherhood isn’t to be feared, unless you’re an irrational talk show host who needs to stir your audience and do something to garner yourself attention. If that’s the case, we can’t be friends. Unless you put me on your show. There, the line has been drawn.
I worried that doing a blog post about Egypt would be pointless. It’s been over two weeks since the citizenry began protesting in the streets. The story has been the on-again-off-again discussion of the talking heads on every twenty-four hour news station. I’ve spoken with family and friends about the issue. Basically, I thought it would be too little, too late. There is no one to inform. And then Pew Research Center released this data from recent polling that 52% of American adults have reported hearing little or nothing about the anti-government protests. Over half of America is unaware of the protests in Egypt. Over half of America is unaware of the protests in Egypt. Over half of America is unaware of the protests in Egypt. Over half of America is unaware of the protests in Egypt. Please, please, please, please let this survey be wrong. Let it be a joke. Tell me those who were polled were all in on some massive conspiracy to continue to make America look completely ignorant and aloof in regards to events around the world. We aren’t this dumb, right? We as a collective nation are not so imbecilic, so disinterested, so inattentive to the world around us that over half of us don’t have a clue that there is a revolution directly involving 80 million people going on right now, right?
Just for the record, that is not where Egypt is. For full disclosure, that screen capture is from 2009 and I consider myself as much a viewer of Fox News as I consider myself a viewer of MSNBC. I am not one. I don’t watch the news cycle on these channels, at least not on purpose. I totally would if any of them either a) Began reporting the news rather than just commenting on it or b) stopped referring to themselves as news channels. They are simple requests. I digress, this is not about berating the cable channels, this is about educating. I have a handful of fans and followers. If I can say they know what is going on and I am not contributing to the 52% of Americans that don’t know about the protests (52% of Americans don’t know about the protests! Seriously. this is a statistic I cannot stop repeating. It has been engraved in my brain permanently and no matter how hard I try to scrub off the grime of disgust and the staining disappointment, it will remain.), I will be happy. So, class starts now.
(Aside: Ok, class starts in a minute. If you clicked on the link to the polling information you’ll notice that the 52% statistic doesn’t appear until the third paragraph. This means one of two things to me: Either Pew Research Center didn’t find think those numbers were that relavent or, the far scarier and probably more accurate answer, they weren’t even shocked by it. Pew Research Center is one of the most respected names in data collection and surveying and odds are they weren’t even shocked to find out that over half of Americans were unaware of a global event. Whoever through that story together initially probably had that as the lead information and the editor overrode it. “You really think anyone is going to be surprised Americans are stupid? Bury that in there somewhere else, everyone knows that already.” I am frightened for the people of this nation. Maybe more than that, I am frightened for myself. 1 out of every 2 people I talk to is a complete idiot, that’s what I’m going to take from this. I could have assumed, but I would have hoped I was wrong. Nope, dead on. Thanks for confirming half of you are morons America. Alright, no class begins)
Egypt is a northern African nation with a population of just under 80 million people. It declared its independence by constitution in 1971. Over 99% of the population are native Egyptians, but it is one of the most traveled to tourist destinations in the world. It is also one of the most diversified nations economically in the Middle East. With one of the richest histories of any nation in the world, Egypt is 387,000 miles of worldly belongings, ancient landmarks, and historical culture.
The government is led by a gentleman (and I use that term lightly) by the name of Hosni Mubarak. Mubarak is considered the president of Egypt, but that’s kind of like calling Hitler a Jew; Technically true, but they have clearly misinterpreted it their respective positions mean. Also Hitler was about as respective of Jews as Mubarak is of the Presidential Republic in place as Egypt’s government. Mubarak took control after Anwar Sadat was assassinated in 1981. Since then, Mubarak has enjoyed reelection after reelection, thanks in part to a strong platform of political reforms that include such progressive ideas including “Hosni Mubarak is President whether you like it or not”, “if anyone opposes Hosni Mubarak they will be imprisoned or killed” and “no voting political parties or other candidates can run against Hosni Mubarak despite Egypt having a republic.” While these reforms are fairly uncommon for a republic government, they are fairly standard procedure for a dictatorship. So let’s go ahead and assume that’s what Mubarak is running.
90% of the 80 million people of Egypt are Muslim. A large majority of the remaining 10% are Christians, and the last sliver of the population is mostly unreported because a court order in 2006 declared that Islam, Christianity, and Judaism are the only recognized religions. Bare in mind that American politicians are calling the man who supported this legislation a “good friend,” “not…a dictator,” and “an American ally.”
Tomorrow I’ll cover why protests are taking place, what America is doing about it, and what the future has in store for Egypt. Also, what the hell is the Muslim Brotherhood?
I’m going to try to cover as many things as I possibly can in a very short amount of space. This usually works about as well as me trying to speak aloud which if you’ve never had a conversation with me, it generally goes poorly.
So first things first, as a Wisconsin resident and football fan, I present the following to fellow fans in celebration and to opponents and rivals in a good-natured “suck it”:
Now that that’s out of the way we can move on to other less groin-related things.
As an update on my previous post relating to goals, I have finished my first book, “The Five People You Meet in Heaven.” I actually finished it about two weeks ago now, but I didn’t really feel a review was necessary for it. Mitch Albom is a brillant author and doesn’t need the praise of some kid with a blog (that would be me if you didn’t realize yet). That said, I have the utmost praise for the book and Albom as an author. His use of imagery and ability to paint a vivid and imaginative world, an especially difficult task when creating an ever-changing universe in which within the confines of a few paragraphs you move from an apartment to a war-torn Asian village to a seaside amusement park, is unmatched. The man’s attention to detail is impeccable. Despite some reservations about the content discussed in the story (religion is barely ever mentioned and the idea of God and heaven in the book are extremely open-ended), I was enamored by Eddie the maintenance man and the story of his life. I highly recommend this book. So much for not sharing my opinion. Let’s not kid ourselves, Albom’s been waiting for me to drop my two cents into the well of compliments the book has received since its release in 2003. Expect to see a quote from me on the next edition that is released.
I’ve also completed a second book, although it was a re-read and some may consider it cheating. I don’t, but bare in mind that I am a cheater. My second read was Dessa‘s brillant little book of short stories and poetry. Is it shorter than my word requirement initially stated? Yes. Is it a book that I can and did complete in one sitting? Yes. Does my re-reading of her book for the umpteenth time have anything to do with the fact that I have the world’s biggest crush on her? Absolutely. Do I care about any of this? Not one bit, internet. Not one bit. I will shamefully admit to the fact that I adore everything this woman has ever done. If you haven’t heard her music and we are friends, I apologize as we can no longer speak. I don’t know how I let you slip through the cracks for so long, but you and I clearly will not get along until you listen to her music. Let me know when you’re finished. Until then, you do not exist to me you ignorant, sheltered, uninformed person.
To continue with the discussion on books I’ve also started my third book, “Lord Loss” by Darren Shan. It is the first in a ten book series called “The Demonata.” Shan is no stranger to series, as he is probably best know for the “Cirque Du Freak” series. I’m not too far into “Lord Loss” but so far it is much darker than any of the “Cirque Du Freak” books got. I mean, there is multiple moments of disemboweling and mutilation in the first twenty-five pages. For whatever reason, Shan is considered a kids or teen author, which is somewhat absurd. His dialog is simple and the his books are quick reads, but he is unapologetically graphic and character relationships are fairly mature. Shan’s got one of the most approachable writing styles I’ve read and you connect to characters quickly because he tends to draw from people in his life who often will remind us of people in ours. Anyway, lots of blood so far so that’s fun.
I know I promised a few posts ago I would do some rapping and I will once again promise that will happen. I’ve failed at maintaining that goal so far, but I’ll do it. I swear. I just finally bought the cord I’ve needed to hook up my equipment and I should be good to go now. There’s some risk involved in the whole thing because I have a quality microphone and a decent audio input device now, which you would think would be a good thing. The problem that is just now crossing my mind is a question that I probably should have posed to myself before investing money into recording equipment: What if I’m terrible? That is a question that you will have to answer when the video goes live. There won’t actually be a question so much as I’ll post the video and you can leave me comments telling me in detail exactly how much you think I suck, and I will joyfully ignore you. It’ll be great. We have such a healthy relationship internet. I’m glad we can be so open and honest with one another. I’m sorry sometimes I get jealous, I understand I’m not the only one that you email to offer penis enlargement to. I’m trying to be understanding but I need need a little bolstering sometimes. Can you send me an email complimenting my penis size and reassuring me that I don’t need it any bigger if I don’t want? That’s all I ask for. Thanks internet, you’re the best.
That took a weird turn at the end. Don’t let me write blogs after 12:00am or weird things happen. I’m like the Gremlins except less fuzzy and I don’t reproduce when you spill water on me. I totally will try to trick you into feeding me after midnight though, so careful.
Oh, and one last thing: My Facebook widget on the right hand side of the bar (which links to my Facebook fan page if you’ve never seen it. Totally worth clicking the “like” button on. It brings good luck. Also, I heard a rumor that the last person who clicked it got a cupcake. Who knows what you’ll get. My guess is two cupcakes, but that’s just because I’m unoriginal and can’t come up with a better bribe at the moment) says I have 25 fans, but when I go to the actual page on Facebook it only lists 24 and it is bugging. the. shit. out of me. I don’t know who you are invisible and apparently situational fan, but I will find out. Your identity will be revealed.
The following is a fictionalization of events following an actual event that occurred during the blizzard that hit Madison February 1, 2011. The previous text was an unnecessary warning. If you didn’t realize that the story was a fictionalization, I am a Nigerian Prince who will make you a millionaire for a mere $50,000 deposit into my PayPal account.
It’s snowing. Hard. You know at night when you look outside after a fresh snowfall and it’s still bright out because of the shimmering white glow of the coat of snow? It’s pitch black out tonight. And it’s snowing. Hard. The weather report that rolled out of the speakers of the radio warned that the snow was falling at around two inches per hour. That was one hour and twenty-three minutes ago. There is snow up to my window, covering about three-fourths of all the viewing area of the glass. Another advisory had leaked through the airwaves that forty mile per hour winds were pushing snow drifts that were piling as high as three story buildings. I hadn’t had it that bad yet at least. I imagined what it must have been like to look out the window from the third floor of a building only to see snow creeping its way up to the sill, its reach just visible as it attempts to grasp at the window itself. It gets a partial grip, sticking just slightly to the glass as it continues to swing itself upwards in hopes of encompassing the entire pane.
The thought fades into a haze that appears thicker across my window with every breath I breathe onto it. My hand, covered by the sleeve of my hooded sweatshirt, wiped the fog clear from my window, giving me an unobstructed view of the snow that had now plastered the full length of my void into the darkness. At least it provided something resembling light. The next closest resemblance of light that I had was the digital clock, which continued to tick forward. As more numbers passed, more snow fell as if they two were travelling parallel to one another. I tried to decipher if there was any correlation between the two. Perhaps the higher the number on the clock travelled, the more snow would fall. This was proven wrong when the clock reverted from 12:59am to 1:00am and the clouds flurry of snowflakes continued to blow across the window. I had lost any existing remnants of my peep hole into the outside world.
It was a mere three and eighteen hours earlier that I was on the road home. After what seemed to be a meaningless, endless shift at work, it was the drive home that proved to be the longest part of the night. My destination, the warmth and comfort of my room and more specifically my bed and hand-crafted blanket that sat upon it, was less than a mile away. Yet that mile would prove to be one of the distance between asylum and insane asylum. Upon turning down one of the final roads before the street my home was located on, I hit a large patch of snow. This was anything but uncommon for tonight, the main roads in the city were covered with snow and I was travelling down the beaten path side-streets that lead to my hopeful refuge. It may have been the abundant number of snow piles I had already barreled through or maybe my car had just lost the will to act as my personal plow any longer, but this particular build up had left me stuck.
The road was, with the exception of myself, abandoned. There weren’t any houses on this particular street, just the unmaintained golf driving range to the right and a slew of trees to the left. The trees had been bowing to the gusts all night and large branches fell as quickly as the snow itself, though with far less grace. The lights in the car flickered as I pushed heavily on the gas pedal, increasing the spinning of my tires but in no way progressing me forward. After a few more feeble attempts at milking as much force from the engine as possible, I gave up, sitting defeated in the driver’s seat. Realizing I wouldn’t be moving if I didn’t take a more manual course of action, I donned my gloves and popped open the trunk of my car. Swinging open the driver’s side door, I dashed to the rear bumper as my trunk door raised as my feet and ankles disappeared under a soft, cold layer of white. A trail of snow flew up with each raise of my foot as I reached into my trunk to grab a red plastic shovel.
With as much force as I could put behind a piece of plastic, I pushed the shovel’s head down into the snow, scooping as much of the powdered sheet as I could and throwing it over my shoulder in attempts to reveal the pavement beneath. Even scrapping the ice that hugged the yellow lines and black tar would have been a welcome improvement over the almost taunting sparkle of the continuous whiteness that covered my ankles. I could feel the wetness of the frozen rain soaking into my clothes as I dug out my front left tire and half of my front bumper. A large piece of compacted slush hung from the tire well near the rubber only minutes ago was spinning aimlessly. I pushed the wide cutting edge of the shovel into the bank of snow along the driver’s side of the car, planting it with the shaft and handle pointing upwards. I let the shovel stand on its own like a bare skeleton of a scarecrow hoping to hitch hike it’s way to the nearest field that wasn’t layered with a thick white coating. His luck would be about as good as mine. I navigated the short path I had dug around the side and front of my vehicle to attempt to kick off the collection of winter sediment that had formed like stalactites on the cave of my front bumper. As I kicked loose the gunky brown slush, I noticed two bright lights traveling through the falling darkness. I squinted, raising my hand over the top of my eyes to block the storm from my vision if only long enough to get a better look at the approaching car. I couldn’t make out the make or model of the car. I could barely see anything side from the outline of its shape, which appeared to be drug along the road by two illuminated globes. It’s speed didn’t decrease as it approached, so I figured it was safe to assume that they wouldn’t be stopping to help dig me out. I was totally understanding of this. I was already stuck, no need to risk another person stuck along side of me simply for a chance to do a good deed. That didn’t stop me from uttering, “Asshole” as the car passed me. If I wasn’t so sure I was just seeing things, I could have swore each individual letter of the word appeared in the breath that escaped my mouth and appeared in the frozen air.
The car carried onward as I pressed forward on my attempted escape from the snow’s quicksand-like grip. I turned back from my car, having cleared the acquired slush from the bumped, and reached again for my shovel. To my dismay, it was no where to be seen. I was alone, there was literally no contact or interaction with humanity on this street. Even if I wasn’t alone, who steals a shovel? No one ever intends to shovel. It isn’t a task that anyone revels in. People steal things they want, not things that enable them to do things they hate. Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a strange indent in snow pile that lined the other half of the street. It was wide and almost square-like near the top, though one half of the square had either been bent to a very peculiar angle or was missing altogether. From the rectangular imprint there appeared to be a very short stem shooting off fromt it. I approached it to investigate what left such a strange outline. To my dismay, in the hole of the imprint was he head of my shovel, tattered like an over-worn piece of clothing. It’s previous state of firm strength had disappeared as i now hung of what was left of the handle like a frozen flag ripped and torn from the battlefield. The only solace I took from my loss was knowing that I had gotten enough use from the now disfigured shovel to remove enough snow to move freely one one side of the car. While there was already a thin layer covering the area I had just uncovered, it wasn’t enough to discourage my attempt to escape, nor to allow me to believe my shovel parished in vein. It’s job was done. Now it all weighed upon the power of my cars engine.
Rejoining the warmth the interior of my car had been enjoying for several minutes now, I sat back in the driver’s seat and placed my foot upon the peddle, turning the wheel in the direction of the small trench I had dug out. My wheels spun and a slight forward motion occurred. Maybe there was a chance to leave after all. As quickly as my hopes returned, they were dashed with a single slip. My car had been freed from the large collection of snow that had previously trapped it. However, it was greeted with just as large of a build up on the opposite side of the street. A battering ram would not have the force to take down this wall of snow. As quickly as my car lost control again, I lost faith again. Shovel-less, I made the decision to remain put temporarily. My cell phone was charged and capable of making a call, so I had no objection to waiting for a little. I would try again once I dug myself out a little further, and if no luck I could call.
I could have called right then. That was two hours and forty-two minutes ago. I had a signal then. I also had my stubbornness. Both were gone now, disappeared in the pile of snow I was being buried under one would imagine. Then again, one would have to assume that even if I had a signal, I would have to have my hands function to make the call. My fingers sill won’t wrap around the steering wheel completely. I can’t hold anything. I haven’t been able to since I tried to dig my car out with my hands. I wore gloves, but they only protect for so long. An hour of handling a frozen blanket is bound to leave an impression. And such a waste of effort it was. I’m still here after all.
WARNING: I lost my way (and interest) in finishing this story, so it’s kind of random and abrupt. Read the rest at your own risk.
I haven’t been this whole time. Aside from standing outside, hand tossing snow, fighting to remove it faster than it fell, I attempted to make a journey for some safety. I knew the road I was on had no signs of civilization, but I also knew that a few streets up is a completely colonized and assimilated condominium complex. There would be no better chance than that. At 10:23pm, I pushed forward up the road, swinging at the wind, hoping to land a haymaker on it’s non-existant body to stop it in its tracks. It instead continually hit me with hard blows until I was against the ropes. About halfway up the first street and I had enough. I was done fighting the wind, the snow that I kicked with every step. I was done fighting it all. I turned and, with a great sigh, started to pace back toward the car. I counted each step just to see how far it was that I traveled. “One, two, three…” I said aloud. As I reached the car, I realized my count was low “thirty-eight, thirty-nine, forty, forty-one.” I had barely taken fifty feet forward toward sophistication and modern comforts before I took as many steps back toward the comparatively primitive shelter provided in my car. I opened the door, immediately jumping back in. I made the foolish mistake of trying to move forward through conditions that were rigorous enough to stop to car its its tracks. I now retired to my car, only to find that it took no more than ten minutes for me to attempt to travel on, then be corrected by the weather. Sitting back in my car, I realized just how dark it was outside then.
That was three hours and forty-four minutes ago. It was just as dark now, but I couldn’t see the sky any longer. All I could see was the snow piled against every piece of glass, every little opening I once had access to. It had taken all of that away. And it was snowing. Hard.
My apologies for the ridiculously abrupt ending. The story wasn’t about content, it was me attempting to break my writer’s block. Mission mostly accomplished. Now for a whole other step, to write something that will actually be good. Oh goody.