(I’m Alive – Superchick)
Winter storm Decima did not decimate me. Scared, oh yes, but I’m fine.
See, I didn’t want to leave on Friday because then I’d have to pack my car in the dark. Before I could do that I’d either have to pack all my stuff before leaving for clinic in the morning and lose precious presentation practice time (even though TBH it’s not like I got much practicing done anyway) and/or I’d have to pack in the evening when I got home, very likely pushing back bedtime which would make me stressed out, particularly because I was still trying to catch up on sleep from Midyear, so I’ve been going to bed at 8pm and wasn’t particularly thrilled to go back to a 9pm bedtime the night before leaving.
So I waited for Saturday. I packed up the car Friday afternoon, right around the time the ice was supposed to be melting, but actually was accumulating. I proceeded to a combination of scare and reassure myself by obsessively evaluating the weather for Saturday every 20 minutes for the rest of the day.
Saturday morning it had finally come above freezing. I made one mistake: I looked at the weather and saw that it was drastically different in the city I was currently in than it had been when I went to bed. Not a different like the weather is way more horrible than before (and not that I was going to be in that area long anyway) but different. That, of course, brought of the fear that the weather everywhere was going to be different, and WAS going to be the bad kind of different.
It was rainy and a little foggy, but otherwise fine for a while. There was some idiot I had to pass no matter how fast I had to drive to get around him/her because he/she apparently had decided the hazard lights were the high visibility lights and it was driving me CRAZY.
It became a little windy, so I slowed down because fear…which actually turned out to be a blessing, because right about that time I both hit a patch of ice and simultaneously realized that everyone in front of me on the road had come to a complete stop. By slowing down I had enough time between that realization and stopping to not hit anyone or anything…and there I had a little freak out. I didn’t know how long we’d be stopped. I didn’t know if it was stop and go forever. I didn’t know if I should turn off my car. All I knew was that I was not a happy camper and was now trapped about 70 miles from point A and over 400 miles from point B. Not happy.
Long story short, I was actually pretty close to the front of the stop. There was a semi that got stuck and was blocking the road, and there we were waiting for a tow truck. TWO snow plows went along the shoulder to get around us…why? I’m not sure seeing as how there was no snow. Eventually I figured out that I should turn off my car. I did keep turning it on long enough to clear the windows so I’d know when we were moving again though. About an hour in I also turned off my hazard lights. Everyone around me was stopped anyway, so it’s not like it was going to surprise anyone that I was stopped. I started a trend and everyone else turned off theirs as well. With the car off, it started to get a little cold eventually. Because I am a genius that way, I had a thin sweatshirt jacket, an unlined wind breaker that is essentially a shaped piece of thin polyester, and that’s about it for cold weather gear. (Hey, don’t judge me, sitting for like ever on the road in a turned off car at like 30 degrees wasn’t in my plans for those five weeks). I am good at improvisation, however, and used a skirt and my pajama shirt as a blanket for my legs and the pajama bottoms actually made a scarf that was the only time I have ever described a scarf as comfortable…also one of the only times I’ve ever worn a scarf, but considering the other options in my laundry basket, unless I was going to completely undress and start over there weren’t any other tops I could get on over the top I was already wearing so I needed something to keep my body heat near my body. I also changed from my tennis shoes to my boots. That was a mistake. The boots are comfy, but warm they are not.
So anyway, about two hours later we finally started moving again. It was really only that one patch that had been icy, but I was now scared and drove slowly with two hands on the wheel most of the time just in case. As I started relaxing and speeding up, semis started passing me and throwing icky stuff at my window. I thought my windows were freezing and I about gave myself heat stroke (mild exaggeration) trying to melt the “ice” from my windows, because I couldn’t see very well…so now I was that idiot on the road driving slow for no apparent reason. I now have a lot more empathy for the idiots driving slow. I found a(n overpriced) gas station and figured I’d put gas in and scrape off the ice…well, as it turns out, it wasn’t ice…it was mostly salt with a little dirt mixed in for good measure…there weren’t any squeegees at that gas station so I figured I’d use my wiper fluid and that’d have to be good enough…well if I were driving backwards it’d be GREAT and if I could drive from the passenger side it wouldn’t be too bad, but the fluid doesn’t squirt far enough to reach the drivers side.
So for another 200 miles I drove slowly using the mostly the passenger side to navigate and constantly hoping no semis or snow plows or other large vehicles would go by because every time they did I’d have next to no visibility for a few terrifying seconds in addition to being sucked in to the wind they create. Eventually I found an exit with a gas station…a gas station that must know people are getting desperate when they get there, because it is 20 cents more per gallon than the gas station I would have gotten to in one more exit (oops) and it is about 3 miles from the actual exit (so I’m not really sure why they are advertised on the exit board hashtag annoying). Luckily they did have squeegees so I could finally see where I was going. That was super helpful. Now I could finally drive as fast as everyone else. I do realize it is best to drive a fast as I feel comfortable with, not how fast the people around me are comfortable with, but I hate being that person everyone is annoyed by…
So yeah, the rest of the drive was moderately uneventful. I did almost get myself pulled over though. See, there was a semi that had been on my bumper for miles and I was getting annoyed, so instead of being responsible and slowing down until the guy got frustrated and went around or changing lanes, I sped up to create space (which by the way was completely ineffective). Right about that time I was kind of stir crazy and was in my wave at inanimate object or wave at people who are miles away mood, and was waving like a lunatic at a pretty logo on a building when I saw a police car go past me and turn on its lights. I looked down at my speedometer and went “can I say that bad word now” (quote from Inside Out). So I slowed way down and was about to pullover and stop when I realized the police car was still going and must have had someone else in mind. Thank God. It would be super embarrassing after driving slow all day to get pulled over an hour from home for driving 20 miles over the limit.
Also, it wasn’t icy again after that spot I sat in forever until I got to my neighborhood.
I think in the last 10 weeks I have grown about 5 years in communication skills, probably 3-4 of those years in the last 5 weeks. While I was in the car I sent texts (only while in park), made calls, left voicemails. All intelligible appropriate conversation. I was so proud of myself. Also, in these weeks I have learned that I can do hard things.
I might not be learning a lot of pharmacy, but I am learning a lot of life skills that are arguably more important than learning pharmacy skills for a pharmacy setting in which I have no interest.