The night that the Grammys were on television, we on PEI had a bit of a snowstorm. Nothing really major, but enough to cancel school the next day.
And enough to get cars stuck in the snowplow drift at the end of their driveways. Well, at least one car stuck in the snowplow drift at the end of one driveway.
No, not our car, and not our driveway. But the driveway across and just down the street from us.
Madonna’s house. Seriously. Madonna. That’s her name.
I first noticed the car at about 11:30 at night. Everyone else in our house had given up on the Grammys much earlier, but I was determined to stay up and watch it to the bitter end. And it was a bitter end, I thought. The last 45 minutes of the show stunk up the joint. But I digress.
I happened to look out our front window and I see this young dude and his white car, half way up the drive in Madonna’s driveway. I notice because he’s shoveling. “He’s stuck”, I think to myself. Sure enough, he was. Because the Grammys were getting boring, I though watching him shove would be more exciting. The snow was blowing, it was late, he was trying to get out of the driveway; I half expected him to lose his temper and show anger. I wanted to visually eavesdrop that moment.
So, he does some super fast shoveling, gets in the car. The red of the brake lights, and the white of the reverse lights shine beautifully in the white snow, reflecting in the dark. He starts rocking his car.
My personal philosophy when dealing with a stuck-in-the-snow car is that if it can rock, even a bit, you should be able to get it out. Sure enough, after rocking it back and forth a few times, the car starts backing down the driveway. But he gets stuck again at the end of the driveway, where the snowplow left a big pile of snow (as it always does).
My first thought was “you’re a lazy idiot for not shoveling out the end of the driveway. You get what you deserve.”
He is stuck firm. No rocking of the car at all. He gets out, shovels a bit around the car, gets back in. Red lights, white lights, red lights etc. No rocking at all.
He gets out, moves to the back of the car and tries to push it. Of course, that manouever is useless. “All he needs,” I think to myself, “is someone to push while he guns the motor.”
I seriously think of being the hero and rushing out to help him. But it’s almost midnight on a Sunday, I’m in my comfy, cozy lounge pants, and it’s storming outside. I decide, instead, to stay warm and watch. I’m now sure that the tantrum will come any moment.
After about 20 minutes of varying strategies of shoveling, pushing, thinking, standing, shoveling, sitting in car, giving up, resuming to shovel, push, etc., I start wishing really hard that he’d get himself unstuck, as it was now past midnight, the Grammys were really sucking, and I wanted to go to bed. I could not, however, do that until his situation rectified itself.
He went through a couple of variations of shoveling and pushing with his jacket off (no doubt sweaty from his energetic getting nowhereness), and then jacket on again (no doubt getting pneumonia from sweating and being outside in a snowstorm without a jacket on).
His solo manual efforts were getting him nowhere, and, I knew, wouldn’t get him anywhere. He needed help. I couldn’t bring myself to be that help, though. And then, luck of luck, a car comes down the street. Surely he’ll stop the car and ask for help. It would only take a small effort from someone else. Here comes the car. It’s a police car! He’s saved! He’ll stop the police car, they’ll either help or call for help, he’ll get out and I’ll go to bed.
But he does nothing. He watches as the police car drives slowly past the driveway. “Why didn’t you stop them?” I yell to him in my brain. Now I am of the firm conviction that this lazy guy does deserve what he gets. All he had to do was stop the police and get help. Then I started formulating the theory that the guy was actually drunk or something, and couldn’t bear having the police catch him in such a state, trying to drive his car. That was the only explanation.
So, the police car drives into oblivion and he resumes shoveling, pushing, etc. to no affect. Minutes pass.
That’s it, I have to go to bed. But I cannot. I have to see it to its end. Then, another car trundles its way down from where the police car disappeared. This time he’ll seek help. I’m sure of it. But wait! The car doesn’t drive past. It pulls into its own driveway, just a couple of houses up the street. Salvation, I think. This car’s driver will get out, help him get out, and I’ll go to bed.
Instead, the car’s driver spends maybe ten minutes driving up his own driveway, back down his own driveway. This seems to be his own weird attempt to clear his driveway of snow, by driving over it. About ten minutes of driving up and down the driveway. Then he finally gets out (and I know.. I just know that he sees the original stuck guy there, shoveling to little effect) and… goes into his house.
I am amazed, at this point, that the guy hasn’t had any physical display of a breakdown. Instead, he remains calm looking as he refuses to give up on his not-working efforts of shoveling and pushing. The car hasn’t budged an inch.
Finally, about 12:25, he throws down the shovel, goes to Madonna’s door and enters the house. I didn’t wait around to see if he had given up or not, and skedaddled myself upstairs to bed.
When I woke up the next morning, the white car was gone.
I feel a little bad about not helping. It wouldn’t have taken a great deal of effort on my part. But i was in my toasty warm lounge pants and t-shirt.