Prologue: That night. That cold night changed me inside out. It also showed the true faces of people around me. Yet, I don’t have any bitterness against anyone. As Fredrik Backman nicely puts it,
“Bitterness can be corrosive. It can rewrite your memories as if it were scrubbing a crime scene clean until in the end you only remember what suits you of its causes.”
A game-changer” Some would say.
“It is a jump towards a different frequency” some would assure.
Whatever happened, happened for a reason, some would preach.
Nevertheless, this event was a game-changer. Life as I knew it changed for good on that cold night.
The day started with a minor argument. We were struggling financially and minor arguments weren’t uncommon but they barely lasted a day. We enjoyed each others’ company- at least that’s what I thought.
I’ve never been an argumentative person. I would simply remain quiet until the heat reduces.
I was certain that this argument too, would settle itself
As I was rushing to get ready for work, the one-sided argument continued. As usual, I decided not to say anything and got ready for work.
When I got into the car, I realized that I had forgotten my gloves. It was a very cold day but I didn’t want to go back – just in case it fuels the argument up.
We were unusually busy at work and I had forgotten everything about the morning argument. I rang home on my lunch break as usual but it went unanswered. I didn’t think much of it and continued the rest of the day
It was a very cold night and I was regretting not going back to pick those gloves up as I walked towards car park.
I put my headphone on and closed my eyes. I did consider sending a message home but changed my mind as it was too cold to take the phone out of my pocket.
I arrived to the car to find it covered in ice.
It was the coldest night of the year.
I opened the back passenger door, threw my bag and my jacket in and got into the driver’s seat. The inside of the windscreen looked amazing with the shiny ice particles.
I took some pictures before turning the engine on.
“It will take a while to defrost this,”
I thought as I switched the defrosting fan on.
The light came up but there was no sound. The blower wasn’t switching on. I pressed the button over and over again, then switched the engine off and back on. Nothing worked. The blower had blown up. Without the blower throwing the heat, it would be almost impossible to defrost the windscreen.
Slightly panicked, I googled to see if there was an easier way to fix the blower. There wasn’t any.
So I got out of the car and put the jacket on. Luckily I found some deicing spray and an ice scraper in the boot.
“ I should have gone back to grab those gloves on,” I thought as I started scraping the ice from the windscreen.
I could barely feel my hands and I had to pause frequently to stop my hands from getting frostbite. Tears were flowing down.
After using all the de-icer and breaking the scraper during the process, I could barely see through the windscreen.
There was no way that I could drive the car safely. So I paused to check for the public transport only to discover that I had just missed the last train by mere minutes.
There was a bus leaving in half an hour but the stop was too far and I didn’t have time and money to get a taxi.
So, I was stuck with the car, in the car that was covered in ice and with nothing to scrape.
Improvise, adapt, overcome!!
I had to do something. I found an old Tesco Clubcard and started using it as an ice scraper- clearing the windscreen- inch by inch.
After around half an hour, I finally managed to clear the ice enough to drive home safely. My hands were frozen and I was sweating but I was glad that I managed to complete the task.
I noticed the steam coming from the jacket and my head.
I threw a big sigh of relief as I entered the dual carriageway. I was finally homebound. Now I can look forward to the warm fireplace with a generous drink.
But my ordeal was far from over.
The steam I noticed earlier started rapidly settling on the windscreen, and before I could do anything, it filled the windscreen. I tried to wipe with my hand but it became worse. I had no choice but to slam on the brakes as I could barely see the road lamps. Luckily there was no traffic behind me.
I slowly drove the car towards the side of the road with my head stuck out of the window.
I hoped that the cold air would turn the vapour back into water and I could wipe it off. Initially, the vapour did turn into water, but without the heater in the car, the water turned into ice particles.
At that time, I remembered that I had a breakdown service membership. I rang them but I was brutally told that my situation doesn’t qualify for recovery
“Well, I won’t renew my membership then” I hung up without waiting for the answer.
I then took my shirt off, put the jacket on and started wiping the windscreen with the shirt. The shirt did remove some ice but not enough.
Parked by the road, I spent another half an hour wiping the windscreen from inside.
Slowly, the heat from the running engine made the mist settle as water- instead of ice. I could have driven but decided to wait for a further 15 minutes because I didn’t want to make another emergency stop on the motorway.
The warmth from the car engine was clearing the bottom of the windscreen as I drove, and when I arrived home – it was completely defrosted and clear.
I was about an hour and a half late to arrive home but nobody phoned to check if I was okay. I gave a large, audible sigh as I opened the car door.
It was the worst day of my life as a driver, but it is over now and I can finally sit down and enjoy a warm drink.
I quietly opened the door. Everybody was asleep. I quietly went upstairs and got into my warm and comfy PJs. I then tiptoed back downstairs towards the kitchen and put the leftover pizza from the previous night in the oven
I then poured myself a drink and turned the fireplace on. With the glass of drink in one hand and remote control in the other hand, I crashed myself on the couch, spilling some of the drink as I switched the tv on.
I wasn’t concerned about the spillage as I knew that I was home. and had just survived the worst ordeal of my life.
Nothing could be worse than what I went through, I thought. But I was wrong.
The worst part had yet to come.