ICE-STUCK

This morning, I woke to more snow. Not a terrible amount but enough that some people were off of work while others were not. I was not.

A fantastic thing about cars that aren’t from the 1990’s (RIP Prissy) is that you can start them from your apartment to begin the melting-of-the-ice before you are ready to clear them off. So I did that and then – because my apartment is being measured for new windows today – I made the appropriate warnings for maintenance and hung them before heading downstairs:

#livingthedream

On my bedroom door. #livingthedream

#truestory

On my front door. #truestory

Clearing the snow off my car was simple enough this time – thanks, technology! – then began the 50-point-turn process of backing out of my tiny, ice-covered, car-crammed parking lot at The Apartments of Eternal Christmas.  I get out of my spot without touching the Lexus next to it (50 points to Hufflepuff!! #wishiwereaGryffindor), start to pull out of the lot in general, crunch over something, and then… STUCK. I try reverse, drive, turning the wheels in different directions. NOTHING.  I get out of my car and grab the shovel (which I’ve been keeping in the backseat all winter) so I can dig around the wheels a bit. Then I try again.

Alas, still nothing. No budging.

It turns out that my car is stuck on a BLOCK OF ICE.  2ft to the right is fine – there is only a thin layer of ice, level to the ground.  Where I am, there is a thick, elevated, island of frozen water that my car is determined to sit pretty on for FOREVER.

Sonofa...

Sonofa…

Being fully aware of my enemy now, I determine the best plan of attack is to let the car run a little so engine-heat can soften the ice – then I will beat my frigid foe to death with my shovel and coast to the street, victorious!  Easy-peesey.

Except because winter 2015 has been INSANE, this hunk of hell-ice has been building over days or maybe even weeks. Its layers are not to be melted so quickly or easily.

I pulled out my trusty AAA card and was about to begrudgingly place a call when an orange Mustang stopped and two young men jumped out to offer assistance.  Side note: I love how dudes see a car in trouble and get genuinely excited at the opportunity to make a car do something that it isn’t currently doing.

I am anti-Damsel-in-Distress and like to do things myself or pay someone professional to do it for me (it’s an “independence” thing) so am skeptical as the guys start assessing but I tell them what I know. They kick at the ice, look under the car, laugh at my plight, and offer to push; they seem confident. But NOTHING happens. This car is *not* going *anywhere*. To seem like less of a moron, I stress that I’m used to driving a truck with 4-wheel drive (again, RIP Prissy) and this little-car-in-winter thing is brand new to me.  These dudes are good-natured, amused, but definitely still laughing at me. We play this “maybe we can help you” game for about 10/15 minutes before I say I’m just going to call AAA. Then ANOTHER guy stops. He has a huge white van. And rope in his car. And offers to tow me.

I have now become both the neighborhood cause AND entertainment as several people have started watching the commotion.

Makeshift Towing

Neighborhood AAA

BUT IT WORKS!!  Dude-in-white-van pulls me off of the ice block as I pilot my car. Then the gents coached me through another 50-point-turn to once again *not* hit the Lexus… but actually get out of the parking lot this time.  There may have been cheers as I drove away.

Once again I’m impressed with humanity and humbled by the idea that sometimes you really do need to accept the help of others when it is generously offered and that it doesn’t make you a Damsel-in-Distress – just human and lucky that the right people happened to be coming by and stopped to assist. These guys all chose to stop, to spend their time finding a solution, and to literally get down on their knees in cold, wet ice in order to help a stranger get her car out of a ridiculous, unnecessary situation. People are truly awesome and it’s nice to be reminded of that; I’m determined to pay this one forward.  But I’m not cancelling my AAA subscription any time soon.

The Kindness of Strangers

I should have known that things were going to be “off” at the Apartments of Eternal Christmas this week as soon as I saw this:

Oh. No.

After 1 year and 9 months of solo living, I have done the thing I have been fearing most: I locked myself out of my apartment while going down to the laundry room.

You see, I am paranoid about always having my keys and my phone on me even if I’m just running downstairs for 2 seconds. I don’t ever leave my apartment unlocked and I always make sure keys are in hand before leaving. I guess I was a bit distracted due to preparations for kittens (more on this later) so I did not realize I was without my keys until I was 3 feet from my door – which was far enough away that when I turned around, I could not reach the door before it slammed.

No keys. No phone. Just dirty laundry, detergent, and quarters.

One of the things I like about my apartment building is that people are polite but private. I don’t know why but not really knowing my neighbors or feeling pressure to know my neighbors has been in the plus column. It’s the introverted-extrovert in me, I suppose. So I was less than pleased when I realized I was going to have to knock on doors of people I did not know for assistance. The universe was at least conspiring to be sure that I wasn’t in my usual laundry room state (read as: no bra, slippers, and acne cream) so that when I knocked on a stranger-neighbor’s door, I didn’t have to be ashamed of being locked out while awkwardly-yet-strategically crossing my arms in front of my chest to poorly hide the bra-less-ness.

I hear the TV on in the apartment directly under me, so I knocked on the door. The dog barked and I waited a moment but nobody came. So I knocked again.  And this is how I met Neighbor Paul – formerly known as the-guy-who-impressively-and-enthusiastically-washed-his-car-in-a-thunderstorm.

When I told him what happened, he gave me his phone in order to call our property manager.  But he didn’t have the number. However the universe ALSO conspired to have me locked out on a day when repair flyers had been distributed so our property manager’s number was everywhere.

Now not only did Paul give me his phone for that call but – because our landlord did not pick up – he insisted that I keep the phone for 30 minutes until I got a call back, told me to do my laundry, and said he’d find me later.  And not only did he find me later sitting on the front stoop waiting for The Unlocker to arrive, but when he found me, Paul brought me booze.

We chatted about the apartment building, the neighborhood and had started to scratch the surface of work when The Unlocker in the form of Edwin The Repair Man arrived and my new neighbor-friend and I parted ways.

BTW – Edwin is my favorite repair man and he gets called to do everything from repair leaky sinks to SCARE RACCOONS OUT OF PEOPLE’S APARTMENTS. For serious. He once got a call from folks on the first floor after a raccoon wandered in because they had left their un-screened window open. Very concerned, I asked him if he called animal control. He said “No. I just make LOUD noise.”  Edwin is also very sweet and super friendly so only after many repairs and conversations – and now one unlock – did he finally tell me that my demon-cat scratches repairmen when I am not around. He felt the need to stress that it only happens when I am not here.  I digress…

Anyway, I now sit in my apartment WITH my keys, a Straw-ber-rita, and with a new friend made; and I am once again impressed and touched by the kindness of strangers.

YES.

YES.