Silly me. What I should have done was to leave work early yesterday. I could have. All I was doing was some writing. Writing I could have done...anywhere. But, I didn't know it had started snowing and by the time I walked out the front doors, I realized my grave mistake. It was coming down.
Just getting out of my work parking lot was a challenge - wow, I had never seen it like this. Very early on in my commute, I noted my fuel tank line sitting below E and contemplated when I would fill up. The gas station I usually go to was still a few miles away. I certainly had enough fuel to get me there. But as I inched my way north, and I mean INCH, I impulsively peeled off at a red light to turn into a gas station. THIS WAS THE BEST DECISION I COULD HAVE MADE.
My gas stop was not without issue as I first sidled up to a Diesel pump, only realizing this after I had sidled up, turned off the ignition and stepped out of the car. (Visibility was not the greatest) So, I had to get back in, and relocate to another pump, which was less easy than it sounds since it was a tight station with not a lot of wiggle room between cars. Meanwhile, another car came head-on from the other direction to the other pump in the lane, pulling up way farther than she should have. Way farther. Driver got out and promptly went into station to pay while I got as close as I could to her without hitting her car. My gas hose did not reach. By now, she comes back out and I asked her if she could move back a little. She ignores me, attaches the hose to her fuel tank, then looks at me to say, "Yeah, AFTER I'm done." I swear to God. I decided not to make an issue of it but I could have TOTALLY taken her, 36 weeks belly of mine and all. I had to wait for her to finish, then, she basically drove forward into me, forcing me to back up to allow her to exit when she could have gone in reverse to get out. Listen, it was not a great neighborhood. I bit my tongue. If all is right with this world, Karma will thank her for me.
I finally fill up and get back on the road north to find that things were hardly moving. I mean, I traveled 2 miles in an hour. At some points, I was stopped at the same light for 10-12 changes with no one moving. The roads were slippery, snowy, and it kept falling. Abandoned vehicles, buses stuck in snow banks, cars that were stuck and spinning their wheels or being pushed manually, snow-covered branches lying in the street, all contributed to the massive slowness. At one point, I thought I had made it through the bottleneck and was "cruising" on a 3-lane street headed north with a line of cars using 2 lanes...until my windshield wipers stopped moving. They tried. They strained. But they would not move. With the downcoming snow, the darkness, I could barely see. We were stopped again and I climbed out and tried to brush off the snow and ice with my BARE hand...all to no avail. I drove slowly. I got out to try again during extended stops. But it was dreadful. Periodically huge chunks of snow would slide off the top of my car and down the front of my windshield, ever so slowly. Like a curtain of doom. Did I mention it was dreadful?
About half a mile later, my wipers miraculously started working intermittently: oh the joy of being able to see! (Every 2 minutes or so!) But then I was stuck in unmoving traffic again for probably 20-30 min. Just sitting. It had been around 4 hours so far to go 7 miles. I decided to take the exit ramp on my right onto to Beltway and take the next exit which could still bring me home. We hadn't moved in eons and I was afraid of being stuck there forever. The Beltway was surprisingly breezy. By breezy I mean traffic was at least moving although it was very much Wild-West-no-defined-lanes action. I got out at the next exit to find myself stopped again. For another 20-30 minutes. Please note that I am 36 weeks pregnant and had not peed or eaten in 4 1/2 hours. If I had not filled up with gas, I'd be on the side of the road in downtown DC, still.
We finally moved again, after having to single-file it around abandoned/stuck cars and a wayward bus, before coming to another standstill for another 30 minutes. The problem was the hill up ahead that no one was able to climb. People were pushing cars individually while the rest of us watched forlornly, dreaming of bathrooms and granola bars.
After a couple of cars went into ONCOMING TRAFFIC ROAD to climb up the hill successfully, the rest of us followed suit, put on our hazards, and slowly climbed up the massive hill on the wrong side of the street. I made it! In my RWD van! No head-on collisions!
I wanted to scream in relief when I turned into my non-plowed small street and pulled into the end of our driveway. Total time: 5 hours, 30 minutes. Total distance: 10 miles. Fuel used: 1/4 tank. Bonus goodness: No power at home.
Snow, it's over between us. Find a new girl.