Thursday, March 01, 2007


A couple of weeks ago, we had a major snowstorm.

Now I have to confess, I have never experienced a major shitstorm. And based on first-hand accounts of people who have been in one, I know that it can get pretty nasty out there with all those flying flaky turds being driven into your bare skin by gale-force flatulence, as you wonder to yourself, where, oh where could all that shit be coming from. But on the other hand, I have experienced a major snowstorm. And therefore, this much I can say with confidence : I would rather take a major shitstorm over a snowstorm of equal proportions any day of the week.

The thing is, once the shitstorm has passed out of your neighbourhood and the colo-rectal clouds have parted, making way for the sun to shine through, all you have to do is wait for the shit collectors to come by and delicately scoop up the soft piles of precipitation amassed at your front door for processing in the manure factory. On the other hand, once a snowstorm is done, that is when your problems begin. Snow has no takers because snow has no industrial or horticultural applications. Therefore, in the event of a snowstorm, it is up to you to dispose of all that snow in front of your apartment and more importantly, around your car.

I have already spoken about the proper methodology to adopt in shoveling your car out of the snow. If I remember correctly, I scoffed at people who use snow shovels and if my memory serves me right, I advocated the use of a technique involving locking into a tight embrace with your car and moving back and forth along her length in order to free her of all that snow. I said this would be enough. Well, it isn't. Sometimes, more drastic methods are required.

So coming back to this major snowstorm which culminated in sleet, ice, freezing rain and every other kind of rock-like substance that water can possibly turn into, it resulted in my car getting mired in the muck. No matter how much snow and ice I shoveled, it was not enough. My frozen hands began to ascend to heaven, leaving the rest of my body behind, my chest hurt with my heart screaming to be let outside to join my hands in their journey and my nose froze shut. Finally, it got so bad that I couldn't make out if the water dribbling down my face was melted snow, sweat or tears and I was hoping it would be melted snow or sweat because I had never cried before while shoveling snow and my parents wouldn't be proud to see me reduced to this sorry state. Men who work out in a gym everyday are not supposed to cry.

Finally, after shoveling for about half an hour, I managed to grind my car out of the quagmire. But it appeared that my car had suffered severe injuries in the process. She had begun to vibrate in several places. And the moment I touched 50 mph, my steering wheel began to bounce up and down like a fetus inside a pregnant woman running a marathon. I guess I had misaligned my wheels.

According to my limited knowledge of misaligned wheels, the misalignment is a direct result of the wheels of your car ceasing to agree on major issues of the day such as geometry, vehicular direction, world politics and the role of women in modern society. Hence the vibration.

It meant that I had to drive to work at 50 miles per hour which I have never ever done, and it made me feel ashamed to drive this slow on the turnpike. More so because I had a long line of cars behind me. So in order to explain to them that I really had no choice in the matter, I turned on my slow blinkers.

And that was when the car behind me flashed its headlights at me. What the fuck? I had turned on my blinkers out of consideration and I get flashed? It's like if you yell at someone in your office and you keep yelling and the other guy listens in silence and then you go home, come back the next day, apologize to the guy and then he screams at you, what the fuck are you yelling at me for. So I slowed down some more in the true American (Indian) spirit.

Coming back home, I stopped at the post office in my apartment complex. They call it a post office, it looks like a post office, it's got an American flag flying outside and it is called a post office. But it is not a post office. It is a building containing our mailboxes. So I parked in front of the post office, went inside, retrieved my mail and got back inside the car. And then as I tried to pull out of the parking spot, the wheels began to slip and slide on the icy ground and the car began to spin about its own axis, kinda like the earth, which was also spinning around me. Fuck, I said. Fuck, I said again. I kept saying fuck for a while. It was either that or shoveling some more and I chose the former.

After a while I stopped saying fuck and began to gun the car. I gunned it some more and I rotated my steering wheel left and right to try and get a grip on the road surface and gradually it began to move very very slowly. But the moment I stopped gunning it, it came back to a halt. And it began to beep. Now what, I thought to myself. Again I gunned, again it came to a halt and beeped again. It was as if it was trying to tell me something. It was then that I observed that my hand-brake was in the engage position. That, in all probability, was the reason behind the reluctance of the car to move, and not the ice.

Yes, it hadn't been a good day for my car. First the ice and then me. But the next day turned out to be better. It had so happened that my twisting and turning at the post office had re-misaligned the wheels into perfect alignment. The vibration was gone and the car was as good as new.

Sometimes it does take two wrongs to make one right.

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