0

An Adventure in Snow and Ice

Last night I got an idea for a story to write, so I stayed up writing until 3 AM for no good reason at all, after which I told myself I’d get up at 10 at the latest…yeah, didn’t happen. I was in bed until the afternoon and then on the couch, not doing much, until I got dressed, dragged myself out into the snow to Michelangelo’s for a cappuccino and sandwich around 3:30 (ironically, when it started becoming night again). I decided to head out to do some last-minute shopping before the trip: Marshalls, Walgreens, and Metcalfe’s, for some candles, toothpaste, and last minute sustenance items for tomorrow’s drive back to Baltimore.

Walking back to my car in the dark, I realized that the accumulated snow on my car merited a cleaning, so I figure, no problem, ten minutes. I wipe off the snow, and what greets me is something that I’m completely unprepared for…

ICE.

Not just ordinary ice, thick ice. Coating all the windows, front, back, and side.

I took out my ice scraper and began to…well, scrape the ice away. Seeing as I couldn’t find a single spot in which to stick the scraper end, I bashed it into the windshield hoping I wouldn’t shatter it (that’s not possible…is it?) to make a small crack in the impenetrable wall of ice, and used that to scratch a tiny hole that slowly grew bigger. I did the same on the side and back. A half hour later, I had barely made a dent in the windshield, but decided to go anyway. I got into the car, with about a ten-inch window of visibility towards the front. Ok, I’m just going to have to duck and be extra careful, I said to myself. With the defroster cranked up and the wipers going, the back window was beginning to thaw out and I could roll down the side windows for some extra perception, but the windshield was going to be a problem. I just hoped that I’d make it out and back alive.

My first stop was going to be Metcalfe’s, so I prepared to turn right on Langdon, when I realized…I can’t see a thing out of the passenger side of the car. Well, left turn it is then.

After a few carefully navigated turns, I found myself on Johnson Street, which was slightly more paved than Langdon. At this point, I was starting to feel a pain in my neck from the awkward angle at which I was twisting it to see out the sliver of non-iced windshield. I can’t go on like this much longer, I gotta stop, pull over, and scrape some more. The problem: there was nowhere to pull over and there were other cars on the road as well, making it difficult to change lanes or make any sudden stops.

The heat generated from the car started warming up the bottom of the ice sheet so that if I sat with my head forward, granny-style, I could see the whole road through the thin strip that was slowly getting clearer. Only that hurt my neck even more, so I kept going.

All of a sudden, it got darker. It was then I realized that I had no idea where I was driving, or what road I was on. All I knew is that I was heading east. Then I realized I could barely see in front of me. Were my lights on? I turned my brights on just in case. Wait a minute…had I scraped the snow off my headlights?

Fuck.

I was driving on a dark, country road with an ice-covered windshield and the only light coming from a car that was behind me, shining on either side. This wasn’t good.

However, I was keeping within the lane as best as I could, obeying the speed limit (like I had an option) and remaining on the road without crashing. I saw some lights up ahead – maybe there’s an intersection coming up. At this point, Bonnie Tyler’s “I Need A Hero” came on my iPhone, and with a chorus of dun-dun-da-dun-dun, I was tearing through the wintry road like a crazy person, the ice melting away just enough to get a clear picture of the whole road if I looked forward a little bit. It felt so intrepid, like that daredevil showdown scene in Footloose, only with just myself, a bunch of snow and ice, and no Kevin Bacon.

At the song’s end, I came to a large intersection – Route 15 – where instinct told me to head south. I had no idea how far I had gone – perhaps I was in Columbia County by now or something – but the intersections on this much larger and better-lit road bore names that I didn’t recognize. Just when I felt hopelessly lost, I saw a “Welcome to Madison” sign, and the lights of West Washington in front of me, ensuring my safety. The icy windshield was about half-gone. At a red light, I opened the Maps app on my iPhone. I had taken County Road CV out to just past the airport, where I have to go to pick up my dad tomorrow. Unfortunately, I missed the turn onto West Washington, but took Milwaukee Ave to get me there just as well, arriving at the East Towne Marshalls at about 8:15. I parked and turned off the car.

I’d made it. Through the ice and snow, and dangerously low visibility, I rode it out and got there alive. It would’ve sucked on a National Lampoon level if they were closed…

But they were very much still open, so I did some shopping, and then made my two more predetermined stops before getting home. I was about eighty dollars poorer, but my windshield was almost completely clear and I felt so alive.

1

Masterpiece Youtube: “Winter Song,” Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson

That’s So Jacob presents: Masterpiece YouTube

Episode 6: “Winter Song,” Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson, 2008

I never thought I could ever feel this cold in my life. Never in two years of living in Massachusetts did it ever drop this low on the thermometer. It’s in the single digits here in Wisconsin, but it feels like negative double.

This music video is a quaint animation piece I’d expect more from someone like Zooey Deschanel. But it’s from Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson. Bareilles is known for her one mega-hit (or meta-hit), “Love Song,” which come about presumably after a producer told her to write a love song and she turned the tables with a “fuck you I’m going platinum.” At the time, Michaelson’s career hadn’t really taken off yet, but she’s picked up plenty of steam in the past five years.

The lyrics of the song are rather simple, and the story it tells is of two young girls in a snowy environment. An old-timey cuckoo bird brings us to a cute little cabin with two girls with hearts on their cheeks. They are presumably sisters, although one’s a brunetter and one’s a redhead. Their cabin is adorable, but oh so very isolated. They go and pick up small objects from the ground, and then WHOA THEY’RE FLYIN’ ON A LEAF. And then it dumps them conveniently next to their cabin, using their dresses as parachutes, as I’m sure no dress in the world does. Their home is full of old, dead plants. They go to bed, and the next morning they drag a huge sled out to play with and go on an epic sledding adventure. Far from home,the girls keep walking on their search for something. It gets dark. All seems hopeless until a ray of sunlight peeks through and a flower blooms. The scenery changes, the snow melts, and things bloom. They run, and even though they just took a several second long sleigh ride quite a distance away, somehow they’re merely feet from home. They get home, and seeing their former snow fortress transform into a lovely little blue bungalow. Brunette jumps in the air, and despite the fact that the weather has now greatly improved, they run inside their house, but not a moment too soon as a tree bursts through from beneath their foundation, and now they live in a treehouse. I hope they zoned for that.

In short, this video is a flashback to simpler days when gathering fallen hearts, having awesome leaf and sleigh rides and attempting to grow plants was all there was to do in the world. The isolation is countered by the sweetness and homeyness of the cozy cabin in the woods, a place I’d love to escape to, snow or not. For some reason, I can’t deal with the cold but I spent all day gazing at a snowfall instead of doing work, which was probably not a great idea, but it just felt peaceful to me. To me, falling snow doesn’t mean shoveling, falling, and driving in it – it means hot chocolate, fuzzy pajamas, and bracing walks to town in awe of the beautiful, even blankets of snow covering the earth. Everyone in Houston said I was crazy for choosing Wisconsin and its snow over Texas, but all in all the cold eventually goes away and spring will come, more beautiful than ever. Until then, you can be warm and enjoy the snow anyway. Plus I’ve got plenty to entertain myself with in my own apartment.

The story of the song’s inception is an even better story – apparently it was crowd-sourced by Twitter. I don’t have a Twitter account but I’d make one if I could get Sara Bareilles to write me a love song out of it.

Oh, right, she won’t.

This episode of Masterpiece YouTube has been brought to you by procrastination. Procrastination: Make Big Things Go Farther Away and Become Scarier, and Small Things Become Bigger, More Immediate, and More Comforting.