For months now, I’ve driven in innocent bliss. Cruising the roads on the outskirts of Charlottetown at speeds way over the legal limit, I knew no trouble. I had taken on the mindset of a seasoned Island driver. Putting my blinker on to turn into my driveway? Everyone knows I live here! My arm sore from waving at every neighbour at their mailbox or creeping through the blinds? Comes with the territory.
I drive a truck, nothing fancy but it has 4X4. I thought that meant I was safe from any sort of snow related accident. I was wrong.
It was a Tuesday morning and I was rushing to school, running behind as usual. I noticed the roads looked snowy and my old lady brain kicked the Islander driver out. I slowed down to a respectable 50 km/h and began my morning commute. As I rounded the corner at the Johnstons River sign, my truck immediately slid into a 360 spin and then proceeded to slide sideways into the deep embankment on the side of the highway. As I sat in my truck, almost completely on its side, I had a moment of panic.
Still strapped in, I reached for my cellphone launched halfway across the truck and thought, “Shit, I’m gonna be late for school.”
A bag of caramel rice cakes was crushed and exploded all over the seat and floor after getting smacked by my backpack. Luckily, they were the only casuality.
I tried to call my mom but with some bad luck, I had no service. I was wearing usual P.E.I. winter gear of a fur parka and winter boots that weighed 5 pounds each.
“I’m trapped….” I cried as I tried to open the door which was blocked by snow. In reality.. I could have attempted to unbuckle myself and crawl out the passenger window, but it was too far-fetched at the time.
Just as I think I will be stranded on the side of the road, trapped, forced to eat rice cake crumbs off the floor, a car drives by. And keeps driving.
But, in true Islander fashion, the car turns around and shortly a ginger fisherman-looking man hops into the ditch to my rescue. He tries to pry open the driver’s side door. My air miles card and change jar tumble into the snow as I cry. The ginger man hops around the truck and reaches down to pull me out.
He asks if I want a ride to school.
I decline the offer, and suggest perhaps I get a ride home to maybe get my only mode of transportation out of the ditch. He agrees. As I walk to his small, compact car (probably with snow tires..) I notice his wife staring at me and a baby sleeping in the backseat. I go to climb into the back and she swiftly jumps out and makes me sit in the front as if I would attack her baby in my crazy post-accident crazed mind. He pulls into my driveway, I have mascara all over my face, and I cry thank you.
Once inside, I try to call my Mom for comfort and guidance. After 5 times reaching her voicemail (which is my own voice..) I try to call Dad.
An hour later, my parents decide to recognize their only daughter is in a time of need and call me back. Well, Mom does.
She advises me to call my landlord who literally probably knows what to do in any sort of situation. I call him at work and explain I put my truck in the ditch and don’t know what to do. He gives me the number to a local tow truck company (Thanks Shaws!) and I give them a call. The man advises me to go back to the scene of the crime to meet with the tow truck driver.
I allow myself a minute of self-pity because I now will have to walk back to the accident site. It is about -20 and the snow is whipping you in the face like nobody’s business. I pull the dreaded purple parka from my closet and throw on a few layers.
Ten minutes later, I am standing on the side of the road watching my truck cuddle with the snow. I’m not sure if this was out of true concern or island curiousity but two seniors 80+ who probably started walking to the car at 8 a.m., pull up to ask what happened. I say, thanks folks but I got it covered. They don’t offer me a seat in their warm car to wait or a hard candy. Unfortunate.
Eventually, a scruffy man pulls up in a tow truck and insists I climb back in “to give it some gas.”
Yeah, for sure.
He lowers me in and I sit in the same seat that caused me panic. He pulls a cord like string from his truck and attaches it to my bumper. He yells commands at me. I don’t think he realizes that I can’t hear anything, obviously.
All of a sudden, the same ginger fisherman appears again and causually walks over. By this point, 2 hours have passed since I first took a trip down snow ditch hill. He hops into the ditch and coaches me through the cracked window on whether I need to be gassing, neturaling or crying.
My truck slowly inches out, ice falling from every crevous. The tow truck driver rips my bent mud flaps off my truck and prepares a bill for 80 dollars. 80 dollars? But…I sat in the truck and manovered it out? But… he just pushed a button which gave a little tug?
After I handed out my credit card and tried not to cry for the sixth time that day, he said “You related to Gary Townsend?”
I gave my new ginger fisherman friend a heartfelt handshake and then climbed into my truck to head home. Other then ice in every corner and it leaning to left a little more than usual, my truck was fine but my ego tarnished.
I now drive a maximum of 35 km/h on snowy days and try to not notice the people who flip me the bird as they speed by.