Thursday, January 02, 2014


7:50 a.m.: Pulling out of the driveway, there was a LOT of snow on the driveway [first Polar Vortex of 2014]. It was beautiful, but I was driving slowly.

I was probably pushing it at 18 miles per hour.

8:00 a.m.: I was approaching a stoplight at a very busy street. I was on a pretty busy route. Even more so at rush hour. I started slowing down well ahead of when I normally would. There was a fancypants car stopped at the light ahead of me. I needed to get into one of those left-turn lanes that sort of breaks off toward the left. This is usually full of cars and there's a very low corrugated divider thing that outlines where the angle to getting in this lane is. Many a morning people drive right over this and into the lane so they can get to the front for the left-turn arrow.

Pretty quickly, I realized that my car was not going to stop before kissing the the back end of this fancypants car. So I guided my car to the left, hoping the low, corrugated divider would slow me to a stop right where I needed to be. The whole area was covered in a foot or more of snow, but I relied on memory to pull it off.

It was a genius move, if I do say so myself. My car smoothly slid past the fancypants car and into the left turn lane. Unfortunately, I forgot that the low, corrugated divider turns into an actual median closer to the light--this is a busy intersection, after all. Instead of coming off the divider and into the lane, my car kept sliding all the way up onto that median. Which is just high enough that my wheels couldn't get any traction.

I couldn't move.

I was a sitting duck there, with less than 2 feet on either side of me to running traffic. I didn't dare get out of my car to investigate.

8:15 a.m.: I called my coworkers, who graciously offered to come over and give me a push, but I declined. The last thing I wanted was them to get stuck trying to rescue me.

8:20 a.m.: The police arrived. I sat there on hold with Allstate Insurance Company. For an hour. Apparently the system for getting a tow is that you get put into a "hold pool" of sorts. Contracted towing companies pick up, ask where you are and then say "oh, I'm in xxxville, that's too far," and throw you back on hold. I was sitting there, watching people pass by me, laughing, and being thrown back into the hold pool over and again.

This was right after using the windshield wipers. There was not a lot of visibility. Which is why the officer parked there--so no one would slide into me after the turn.

10:00 a.m.: After NINETY MINUTES, the police officer had enough and told me that I was a hazard. He was going to call their tow truck to winch me out. I felt like the world's biggest idiot. In 20 minutes the tow arrived, and the officer asked me to sit in his squad. This is the second time I've been in the back of a police vehicle--the first being in a paddywagon outside the Robert Taylor Home projects, no less).

The seats in those things are so deep and SO SLIPPERY.

The police officer suggested pulling my car out sideways. Because "that's how they pulled out the last one this morning." The tow truck guy disagreed. I believe his words were "This is 20th car I've pulled out this morning." And the cop was making ME feel like an idiot! This was happening to EVERYBODY that day!

10:30 a.m.: After the tow truck guy pulled my car out and into the gas station parking lot about 200 feet away, he gave me the bill: $150. "It would have only been $100 if you had called. This is the 'police rate.' " Pro Tip: Don't let the police call the tow; you'd think they'd get a discount, but really it's the opposite.

11:00 a.m.: I crawled my car the 0.1 mile home and worked from there.

And when we tried to get that money reimbursed by Allstate? All they would give us was a $100 reimbursement, even though it was their stupid system that forced the police to call his own towing people.

STRIKE TWO, Allstate. (Strike one was not covering the plumbing backup because we "declined" a coverage that they failed to even offer to us.)

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