karma -or- snowed in

i have a kitten whose name is karma.

being a kitten, she is much like the universal law for which she is named.

for instance, if you are kind to her, don’t make too many demands, and don’t make any sudden movements or loud noises, she will curl up in your lap and start to purr.

karma‘s cool like that.

lately, we have been snowed in, and confined to the apartment. for the last several days, raleigh has been digging out from a record snowfall of between 12 and 18 inches of fine, white powder. my parking lot is treacherous, and has been un-navigable for the last three days.

despite the dangers, several of my neighbors have attempted, for better or worse, to leave the frozen wastes in search of food or employment. yesterday, my brother, resourceful, intrepid explorer that he is, trundled over the tundra in his newly acquired four-wheel drive (low ratio), and lent me a hand in digging out my car, as well as those of my neighbors. we even went so far as to chip out a pair of trenches for traction to the main road.

we pushed cars out of the lot, loaned out our boots, backs, and shovel to those in need, not because we were looking for money or praise, but, more than anything else, we were bored out of our everloving skulls.

and so, this morning, karma (the universal kind, not the kitten) was smiling upon me as i left for work for the first time in what seemed like weeks.

as a sidenote, the only reason i truly had to go into work was to put through a rush job for a client who was also snowed in, otherwise, i would have kept inside and avoided the fates, who, as you will see, had it out for me today.

immediately, i became stuck pulling out of my parking space. you see, all the places we had cleared the day before were no longer bare pavement, but, in fact, black ice. black ice, as you may know, is that most wonderous of winter phenomena, in which pavement that looks wet is in fact a sheet of ice so smooth and regular that one could hold olympic skating competitions on it.

wheels spinning, i tried a few times to locate a bare patch of pavement upon which to gain purchase, to no avail.

when, lo and behold, one of my neighbors, whom i had pushed not once but twice out of the snowy lot, came out of his apartment and offered me a push.

with a little muscle behind me, and the plucky little saturn spinning its tires with every bit of power it has, we managed to get into the clear and off down the road.

yes, karma can indeed be a good thing. without the help of my fellow man, i would have likely left my car where it was, gone inside, and called my client to tell him to kiss my lily white ass.

but no, off i went, all aglow in a feeling of invincibility.

then, you see, i realized the true nature of karma.

yes, karma can be very lovely and sweet when you have been good, but, much like my kitten, she will sometimes jump up and bite you on the ass.

you see, as i crested the one hill in the parking lot, looking down upon a cul-de-sac near the entrance, i saw not one, but at least a half dozen cars, parked around its perimeter. unable to mount the hill the night before, many of my neighbors had decided to stay put at the bottom of the hill and walk the rest of the way home.

dead center in the cul-de-sac was a truck, idling, presumably stuck, whilst its owner spread salt or sand onto the ice for traction.

at a dead stop at the top of the hill, gravity took hold of the plucky little saturn and we began to slide down the hill, picking up speed despite my efforts to control our descent. frantically trying to steer into a nearby snowbank on the side of the road, i was too panicked to even honk the horn to warn those in the target zone at the bottom of the hill. a surreally silent, slow slide resulted in my car plowing sideways (thankfully it wasn’t head-on) into the parked truck.

the resulting damage was minimal, considering what could have happened. i lost my passenger-side mirror – which, admittedly, i can do without – and the truck has a dent in the rear passenger-side quarter panel. in all, my deductible will probably cover it, and i should be able to pay the man cash for the repair, rather than incurring the wrath of my insurance company.

after exchanging numbers and apologies, i was on my way to work.


of course, the client needed the ad i worked most of today on ASAP, but it turns out the magazine it is to go into doesn’t need the films until tuesday, so my trip to work was mostly wasted – i could have made due by starting in on it first thing monday. go figure.

deciding not to brave the slippery hill, i parked my car at a nearby grocery store after work and walked about a half mile home (all uphill in the deep snow.. i swear!)

but, what do my eyes behold upon trudging into the apartment lot, blowing steam like a locomotive, but a freshly plowed cul-de-sac and aforementioned hill! clean as if it were freshly paved, the hill is now no more dangerous than after rain.

however, the hill has hardly claimed its last victim. the cul-de-sac remains a parking lot, and tomorrow night, the forecast calls for not snow, but freezing rain, which is ever more treacherous.

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