The password for the last month, but especially for the last forty-eight-ish hours, was car, of course. Naturally this was the case, what with the car accident a month ago Friday in Pittsburgh, the slew of telephone conversations with various persons in the insurance industry as a result of said accident, and the set of rented vehicles I've had the pleasure of driving since.
It is the past forty-eight-ish hours, as I mentioned, that really is of particular note, though. I'd been required by my own insurance company to surrender my rental vehicle, the car which so expertly carried my banged-up self back home with a snow advisory in every county between Pittsburgh and Chicago. It served me well, but off it went. So, I acquired another (details of no consquence).
Upon driving away in the newly rented vehicle, I noticed a burned-copy of a CD in the player, and pressed play. Imagine my shock/delight to find it was Chinese adult contemporary pop music! One track in particular is stuck nicely in my mind, with the catchy phrase "a peen-peen hey fonay" figuring prominently. Unless I learn otherwise, "a peen-peen hey fonay" is just going to have to mean something extremly auspicious. No really, the way things had been going for the last couple of months, I was ready for some auspiciousness around here, so I decided, just decided that the CD was going to have to serve as a favorable omen. Period. So, a peen-peen hey fonay to you.
Then, I became aware that my car, my car that was, apparently, not totaled out in the end, was repaired and would be, at long last, transported back to Chicago.
Also, yesterday, I ran a minor errand to a north suburb of Chicago. The errand, mind you, is of zero importance, but the details which are relevant are that I drove approximately 34.2 miles, and according to Google Maps, this should take all of forty-eight minutes (there's that umber again). Noticing the snow storm moving into town, I completed my biznass in the area and headed out. Specifically, I hopped into the car and noticed the dashboard clock read 2:22pm.
The snow swirled in, in a giant white wall, and although it was rather interesting to watch, the highways were not getting plowed nearly fast enough, people were leaving work early, and things got rather interesting. I drove the most direct route possible from my errand to my apartment, and the 34.2 mile journey took exactly five hours and two minutes. Take a moment with that if you must.
The following italicized statements are a series of messages I posted to Twitter from my car, while stopped in traffic, and my own notes for a general timeline. Mind you, I accept that I do live in Chicago, and winter weather is serious busines here. I also know, however, that five hours in a car with a radio and CD of Chinese adult contemporary pop music is enough to get twitchy:
- 2:20pm: Call casually placed to MommasBoy, announcing ETA of, oh, and hour-ish due to the weather. No big whoop.
- 2:38pm: Secretly am hoping for a big dumping of snow tonight. I'd really like to stay in and work on stuff tomorrow.
- 2:44pm: Phone call from parents. CNN was watched, they're calling to make sure I'm not out in the snow. Ha, I said ha.
- 2:59pm: I-94 north of Chicago is all crawl and slide, fyi.
- 3:00pm: I'm behind a snow plow.... Wish me luck.
- 3:05pm: Another call from parents. Encouraged to find hotel room for the night. Scoff, scoff, scoff. Am asked if I have blankets in car. "Not in a rental car," I say.
- 3:200ish pm: Lincoln Towncar slides into guardrail from adjacent lane. Oops.
- 3:25pm: Call MommasBoy again. ETA no longer one hour. "Meh, soon I'm sure," I say.
- 3:37pm: Made some headway behind the plow, then he exited. Dang.
- 3:38pm: Ok, other than the crappy driving conditons, the snow is quite pretty from what I can see.
- 3:39pm: Dear Hertz, change wiper blades once in a while!
- 3:39pm: Dang, in park on hwy.
- 3:40ish pm: Decide to listen to The CD. A peen-peen hey fonay. Okay, stuck on highway, but with a BlackBerry; reframe attitude and remain patient. A peen-peen hey fonay.
- 3:46pm: I may be stuck on the hwy, bu at least Def Leppard is on the radio.... oh, this is lame; I'm so bored, har.
- 3:48pm: Oh, local death metal hour on radio. What a delight.... sigh.
- 3:58pm: Ha, Pittsburgh shop just called. My car is en route to Chicago. Hope it arrives in one piece; weather is ass between here and there, I think.
- 4:14pm: I've been in the car TWO HOURS. Should be about a 30-min drive; I'm halfway. Buh.
- 4:37pm: I'm just calling ppl now. (You may have received a call from me during this time period. Forgive me for not leaving a voicemail. I knew rambling was likely and tried to avoid leaving any voicemails.)
- 4:39pm: Leave voicemail for my brother. It rambles.
- 4:41pm: I'm on the Edens [Expressway] and I want to punch myself in the face.
- 4:42pm: Now: Should I stay on the hwy or try some other routes?
- 4:51pm: I just heard it was over two hours from Skokie Blvd to the loop. O. M. G. I want a helicopter stat.
- 4:52pm: One more exit and I can find my way on back roads.
- 5:38pm: Oh for goodness sake, I'm still on the hwy. I'm getting the giggles.
- 5:45pm: Parents call again. Assure them I'm not about to stop and get a hotel room mere miles from my home. Parents google nearby hotels, realize there are none, and go back to the weather channel.
- 6:04pm: Someone call me and tell me a good joke. I'm getting punchy and will probably laugh at anything, lol.
- 6:05ish pm: Leah calls, we discuss outrageous travel times including the 4+ hours needed to get to O'Hare airport from the downtown loop, and, uh, my drive.
- 6:25pm: Call with Leah disconnected, no idea why.
- 6:28pm: I've started dancing in the driver's seat to Cyndi Lauper on radio. Guys in next car thumbs-upping, lol.
- 6:30pm: Band of Hoses' (sic) Funeral on 88.7 now. No more car dancing from last tweet; but a gorgeous song in any case.
- 6:32pm: Oops. Band of Horses, I meant in that last tweet. ha, not *hoses*. Way different band.
- 6:36pm: Call MommasBoy again. Discuss dinner possibilities so as to eat vicariously.
- 6:45pm: Girl in car next to me is sobbing.
- 6:47pm: Girl in car next to me realizes I am staring at her as she sobs. I try to recover by making the empathy face, which does nothing.
- 6:49pm: I got off the hwy; Lincoln and Peterson now. So close!
- 6:53pm: Text message a friend in NY and think for a moment I am going to wrong direction. I am not. Big relief. Windshield wipers frozen, lean out and wipe windshield with a glove.
- 6:55pm: Another call from parents. WGN.com, CLTV.com, The Weather Channel and Weather.com are all being accessed. Re-interrogated about whether or not I store blankets and food supplies in my car. Answer still no. Remind myself aloud on the phone that at least I don't have to pee.
- 7:13ish pm: I really have to pee now.
- 7:19pm: Spot man outside my building scraping his car. I whip around, put on signal and wait to take his spot. Attempt to get off the phone with parents, not a possibility. Parents want to ensure I am parked and stopped and the adventure has come to an end. Fair enough.
- 7:21pm: Really have to pee. Watching driver leisurely scrap his car. Signal clicking. Really have to pee. Parents waiting on line. Oh holy buckets, I have to pee.
- 7:24pm: Parallel parking, parents on speakerphone. Oh holy buckets, I have to pee.
- 7:26pm: Parked at my building! Total time to drive 35 miles: 5 hrs, 2 min. Wow!
- 9:00pm: Warm, fed, sound asleep. Zzzz....