The plan was kind of stupid. I knew it was stupid, Red knew it was stupid, but we didn’t really care. We were brave… or, foolish; we never really knew which one meant ‘it’s stupid but we’re going to do it anyway.’ The year had been rough and we just needed something new. We needed something good. We should have known that it wouldn’t work out, that it was too good to be true, but when a plot of land in the mountains came up, large enough for a small house, and sitting in the middle of the woods looking out upon the valley, we decided to pounce on it.
We had owned the land for three months already, sight unseen. At 40 bucks a month, we didn’t really care if it wasn’t pristine. Our only hope was that it wasn’t a cliff side. After three months, we figured we should make the sight unseen site, seen. We had to hold off until after winter, as our old Sedan had no snow tires or chains, and the property was up in the California mountains near Arrowhead Lake. But with Spring coming, and no snowfall for a week, we finally went.
The journey took a little over 2 hours from our place in Wine Country to the edge of Crestline. The roads were lined with piles of snow, but the streets themselves were all clear and well maintained. The roads all the way up were winding, flipping back and forth along the mountainside.
“We can do this!” We said.
Further into the small, woodland town, the roads became a little icy. We proceeded slowly, cautiously, as the clear roads became slightly muddy. It was a small patch that was icy, but since it was only a small patch, we continued.
“We can probably do this!” We said.
We passed the road, around the bit of ice and continued around a bend, and came to a full stop. It seemed the situation had changed; where there had been a little ice in the road, now there was a little road in the ice. We had to evaluate the situation, weigh the benefits of going, versus the benefits of turning around and heading home. We had come all this way! We were less than a mile from the property! But… on the other hand; no snow tires, no chains, and that icy road looked pretty gosh darn steep.
“Perhaps,” Red said, “it is better to die another day.”
I agreed. We did the wise thing and turned around to leave.
Fate had other plans that day; the front tires met a little patch of ice and instantly fell in love. The tires made sweet, passionate love with the patch of ice and the car was caught in the middle of a new relationship that landed it several dozen feet down the steep Slip’n’slide pretending to be a road.
Initially, Red was a little concerned, but I was very reassuring.
“Hun, chill,” I said, ironically. “No mere ice patch can ever hold us down. Check it.” I continued, ironically.
I put the car in reverse and pressed the gas. I slid forward. I stopped.
I turned the wheel and pressed the gas. We moved back a few inches, then slid forward a few feet. I stopped.
“Uhhhh,” I said, cleverly. “Ideas?”
Between us, we had dozens of ideas.
We tried a blanket; it failed.
We tried some sand we had in the trunk, for reasons; it failed.
We tried the cover for the spare tire; it failed.
We tried sliding down a little further to turn around in a dry patch on the side; the car slid sideways, instead.
The battle between us and the icy road waged on and on, growing from a few minutes of frustration to a grand, hour-long epic! All the while, we succeeded at nothing more than in drawing our vehicle nearer and nearer to an ominous ditch of snowy doom.
|*Name changed to avoid any potential legal issue.|
We admitted defeat and seceded that a mere ice patch could, in fact, hold us down.
“I think it’s time to call… The Club*.” Red said.
With a heavy sigh, I pulled my trusty cell phone from my pocket and called up… The Club*. I knew I had never had any success in the past with… The Club*… as I had called them several times in the past year and had never received any assistance. There was always something wrong with the circumstances of my situation that rendered… The Club*… helpless to help.
Why am I even a member if you never actually help me? I often wondered when calling them. But still, I tried. With hope and need in my heart, I left the car, struggled to the top of the icy hill where there was a signal, and dialed the number.
“Thank you for calling, how can I help today?” Asked The Club* representative.
“My car is stuck on an icy hill,” I said.
“Do you have snow tires?” They asked, snidely.
“I do not,” I said.
“Do you have chains on your tires?” They asked, mockingly.
“I imagine if I did, I might not be stuck,” I said.
“So that is a no?” They asked, evilly.
“That is a no,” I said.
“I am sorry, there is nothing we can do.” They said, laughing maniacally at my misfortune.
“Of course you can’t,” I said.
“Have a nice day,” they said, their voice taking on a double tone, like that of a man and a woman speaking at the same time, speaking from the back of their throat and gurgling like they were choking on bile. The smell of sulfur poured from the speaker of my phone.
I hung up and rolled my eyes. I tried, and mostly succeeded, at not laughing at the situation.
“What’s the ETA?” Red asked from the car.
“Never,” I said as I slid back down the hill to the car. “I’ll have to walk to town, buy some chains, come back, put them on, then call again to get them to assist.”
“Is that the only way?” Red asked.
“No,” I said. “I could walk to town, buy some snow tires, come back, put them on, then call them again to assist.”
Red responded by taking out their phone and calling… The Club*.
A minute later, Red returned to the car.
“A truck is on its way,” Red said. “It might be a few hours, though.”
“How do you… like… I don’t-” I stuttered.
Red just smiled and climbed back into the car.
We waited some more.
After a half hour, we decided to wait, but we did so exasperatedly.
After an hour, we decided to wait impatiently.
Just when cabin fever was on the edge of pushing us into cannibalism, we heard a noise; a loud rumbling, like a fifty-foot lion’s purr.
“The tow truck!” We declared in unison, jumping from the stationary vehicle. But, it was not. The sound was coming from ahead of us, down the road we were trying to avoid going down, not behind us where we came from.
We stared off down the road; it went straight for a few dozen yards, then turned a sharp left around a hillside, off into an unknown oblivion. On the right was a wide ditch and a 20-foot drop.
The sound grew louder; the trees began to shake and the ground beneath our feet began to rattle. Then a large jeep, with tires as tall as myself, came into view. It was followed by a second one, then a third. A trio of Jeeps came up from the treacherous icy depths of the hillside, only to find a pea green sedan stuck sideways across the road, blocking their path.
Feeling really bad about blocking their path, I decided to do the brave thing and move the car. Every time we tried to move the car we wound up sliding closer to the ditch below, but this time, we did the same thing and slid closer to the ditch below. However, I managed to unblock the road enough for the lead jeep to pass. In a fit of appreciation, the biggest Jeep, Jeepcules, driven by a jolly, hairy, large man named Bryan, offered to pull us up the hill.
Bryan hooked onto the back of our car with his trusty towing winch and had us back at the top of the hill within a matter of minutes. We were extremely grateful. We offered Bryan wine, as it was about all we had left in the back of our car, but Bryan declined. He did, however, accept the hugs and appreciated our excessive amounts of gratitude. He flashed us a Peace sign, and I responded with the Vulcan greeting as we went our separate ways.
We returned home and figured we would try again in the summer.