I Would Walk 5 Miles (GA Snowjam 2014)

So it begins. A light dusting of delicate snow drifting from the sky at 11 am on 1/28/14.

So it begins. A light dusting of delicate snow drifting from the sky at 11 am on 1/28/14.

Tuesday was a test of character. Down in GA we are not very wise with this thing called snow. I’m a Yankee girl in a southern world but I can never bash Georgians driving conditions in the snow because it just isn’t snow, it’s ice. Well actually I always do but when it comes to snow and ice it’s always a joke because that’s what I do, I joke about things that make me uncomfortable or that I am uneasy about. When snow sticks in GA it is not often for play but instead a perfect death trap for the commuter trying to get home, ironically to safety.

My car was encased by snow when I got out at 3pm on 1/28/14.

At three p.m. we were told we could close up shop and go home. I thought, cool, snow day. When you graduate from school you think you’ll never see that again. I thought I’ll be home before I was originally supposed to get off work. WRONG! At six p.m. I had moved a mile down the street from work. Going up a slight hill my front tires only shifted as my rear spun without any traction. Several guys saw my issue. I was in the middle of the road for either side of traffic to claim. The team of men pushed and pushed but it only got me so far. It was like watching wolves blow down a brick house. After they thought I was fine and went to assist more ice-logged cars mine stopped dead on again. WHAT TO DO?

I did everything in my power not to act like a child by slamming my fist on the steering wheel or crying. Crying was the harder part for tears slip down needlessly against your will when you feel helpless. I called AAA because what else could I do, just wanted to see if my next thought was rational. I knew that they would tell me that many people were in my same predicament, and that I would wait hours for a tow truck. In fact I knew I would wait much longer because people were abandoning cars left and right, busses and trucks were swerving in stop and go traffic that never went faster than five mph. The only problem was that I was in the midst of chaos. Could I really abandon my car, the thing that got me from point A to point B. Today it was getting me no where. One of the guys came back and the best plan was to back in reverse down the slippery slope and park in a preschool. Thanks to him I didn’t get in a wreck.

2014-01-28 18.55.09

At 7:00 pm I had already been walking for over half an hour on what would be a 5 mile hike before I could get to someones car that could move through ice. This road was a trap for the unsuspecting vehicle. Clearly my day was not that bad.

My best chances of getting home that night was to walk. Walk a normally thirty minute drive. So at six p.m. I made my choice. People called constantly telling me they would come and get me but I declined for they would only risk themselves and what good would two abandoned cars be. My boyfriend insisted, being the gentlemen he is, against my stubborn will. Either way I was walking. Conditions were bad,  the roads were a skating rink.

I walked over five miles from road A to B to C. I saw many things and as a writer I treasured my experience in that weird sadistic way that allows me to create characters that mimic such effects. Snow filled in my shoes causing a numbing sensation to cut off my senses until my back legs became ice and my face chapped. Cars drove by and not one stopped to make sure I was okay, to offer a ride to where they were headed. I felt abandoned. After being helped out earlier with the car I was shocked by the decency of people on foot but the cars created a barrier that separated everyone. People drove close to one another and no one bothered to think about the fact that people walking on the streets were not walking by choice. While my ears rang from coldness, my throat ached from holding back my emotions of anger and the constant vibrating of my phone as everyone around me was checking in with one another on group chats, I had one quality really working for me. My stubbornness. My will to say F*** it and keep moving with no care to the feeling that entrenched my feet, my legs, my hands, my face….. At 22 degrees I trudged through slippery wet snow in heels carrying just my clutch, phone, and iPad mini because most of it fit in my pockets. I was lucky to be wearing a jacket with a hood and to have had gloves in my car. (I will for now on keep gloves, a beanie, and boots in my trunk just in case.) I walked up to a gas station in hopes of warmth but they were closed and finally I walked until I met my boyfriend in the midst of traffic after eight p.m.

2014-01-28 20.30.06

At 8:30 pm on 1/28/14, 5 miles later i made it to my boyfriends car who was stuck in traffic due to ice-logged streets with rear-wheel drive cars abandoned every where and we waited in traffic for another few hours before getting home.

The best options since he was stuck in traffic, due to stalled out cars ahead, was to jump the median and then we sat in traffic until 9:30 pm moving 100 feet. By then I was so cold, the numbness was wearing off and I could feel how long I had been out there. At that point I wanted to get out of the car and walk the extra five miles home. I was ready to abandon the steel cage I had been encased in for far too long. Finally it cleared and we drove carefully, just careful enough. Taking a very slow turn on an empty back road to avoid hills we veered to the far left toward a median where someone had left their stalled out car. While my bf was 100% sure he wasn’t going to hit it I was 100% sure that luck was not on my side today.

Then again maybe it was. Employees across my district were checking in and when I got home at 10:30pm that night there were still four people stuck in traffic in Atlanta that hadn’t moved for hours and a few more people who also decided to abandon the car. Tuesday was a scary day for mother nature and technology, or lack there of. Corporate america demanded the best from us on a snow storm holiday. I hope everyone out there has been safe in this weather and be careful out there. For I did walk five miles, I would have walked 10 miles home in the snow but let it not be 500 miles, I have limits. (For those who don’t know them, the Proclaimers kept me going today.)

P.S. I have heard such amazing news of people still this day helping others find their way home, bringing them hot drinks, getting them gas. Individuals like them are my heroes.

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