I Was Wrong

It’s been a cold, icy, miserable month in Baltimore. Spring is right around the corner, but not coming fast enough, and the snow and ice keep falling. As I type, there is freezing rain pinging against the skylights and windows, forming icicles on the lanterns hanging from the balcony.

There have been several water main breaks in my neighborhood. On the day before yesterday, when temperatures climbed above 40 degrees, the snow melted and merged with the rushing water freed from the crumbling infrastructure, and there was a river rushing down our side of the street. And then that night when the temperatures returned to the now-normal teens, the river froze, leaving  the sidewalk, the gutters, half the street encased in a sheet of slick ice. All of the cars, including our jeep, have been trapped where they were parked before the snow fell. We have been walking to work all week, except for when I bummed rides with a coworker. Thank God for coworkers.

This morning A. decided we were going to get the jeep unstuck and I wasn’t excited about helping. I grumbled, mostly in my mind, some out loud. I put on the two pairs of pants and the sweaters and the jacket and the coat and the hat and the boots and the gloves and went and threw my weight against the back of the stuck jeep and breathed exhaust. It didn’t budge. So we switched places, with more grumbling from me because what happens if the jeep comes unstuck and I lose control over where it’s going? But the street was half empty on the other side, most of the neighbors having left for work already, so I did it anyway, and A. pushed for a while. Then some neighbors came by and not one offered to help. F those assholes.

Then a white van came, and parked right across the street where the jeep would have hit if it would have come unstuck and I would have lost control of it. And my stupid mouth verbalized the thoughts my stupider brain had: “Seriously, THAT is where you park? All the other open spaces and you park HERE?” F those assholes.

And then something amazing happened. The doors on the van opened and three Latin angels got out. One of them said, “Stuck?” and before you could say Ayudanos Jesus! the three of them had pushed the jeep off the ice, A. behind the wheel, me on the icy sidewalk held aloft by the grace of God and the pointy metal shovel lodged into the bank of icy snow. Five people smiled. One said, “Heavy!”

There weren’t enough thank yous in the world. Not only did those visitors in the white van unstick the jeep, they showed me that I was wrong. How many times do I scowl and grumble over what looks like, feels like, smells like a shitty situation that is actually a blessing in disguise? How many times do I mistake helpers for assholes who just want to make my life more difficult? It was a humbling experience, and humorous. I’ve been laughing at myself all day.

Also, all day I’ve been watching vehicles get stuck on this sheet of ice across the street from my office. It’s just a huge mound of ice that they drive up on without realizing they haven’t the traction to drive away. All day I’ve been listening to various whirring, squealing, roaring sounds of vehicles trying to get themselves unstuck, and every single time the only thing that does it is help. Some dudes come out from I don’t know where, shoulder up to the bumper, and just push until the squealing stops.

Thank GOD for help. Seriously, where would we be without it?


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