All Time Low

Being that it was literally -17 degrees when I was leaving work today, I decided to Uber home as opposed to taking the bus like I normally do. I figured saving a couple appendages was worth losing a few bucks. So I called an Uber and huddled inside my building as I watched the little black car on my iPhone screen approaching.

It was only about 15 yards from the door to the street, so I waited until my driver pulled up in his black Camry before I stepped outside. But before the door could even close behind me, that stupid black Toyota started puttering away. I started running and waving my arms like my life depended on it because, let’s be honest, my chances of survival were probably worse than Chuck Noland’s. But does Uber Boi driving the car look my direction or stop? Of course not. Frozen tears on my cheeks (Jk. Kinda.), I watched as he turned down the next city block.

I was not taking off my gloves, so I started pecking at my phone screen to try to unlock it with the tip of my nose. I was like a woodpecker to the last tree on earth, when I was interrupted by my phone ringing. I tried to answer it with my face, but I’m pretty sure the tip of my nose was already too frozen, so I ripped off my right glove and answered the phone.

“Where are you?” an annoyingly calm voice on the line asked.

“You just drove past me,” I huffed. “I’m outside of the U.S. Bank building across from the Capella Tower. Corner of Sixth and Second.”

“Fifth?” he asked.

“Sixth,” I said, again.

“I’m on Fifth,” he announced proudly.

“Good for you. I’m on Sixth,” I snapped.

I like to think that when you’re suffering deeply, a bad attitude is justified, but God, Job, and my mother would probably all disagree.

Suddenly, the line goes silent. I pull my phone away from my ice-block-of-a-face to look at it.

That’s right, folks. It had frozen. Frozen. I don’t mean a technical glitch. I mean it literally got so cold in those five minutes I was outside that my phone shut down. Meanwhile, I’m losing about a finger a minute, and my hands were too cold to pull my right glove back on, so I jammed my hand into my scarf and started the trek for survival towards Fifth Street, because Lord knows Homeslice wasn’t going to come to Sixth.

And I’m about halfway there when a black Camry just zips right by me. Now he had decided to drive to Sixth.

I kid you not, in that moment, I turned and started running down the road in a -45 windchill, ice and snow everywhere, and practically dove into this damn Toyota as it came to a light. 

“Cold?” my driver turns and asks nonchalantly, as if I gotten into his car in any sort of normal manner. 


(Before we continue, let me tell you about snow emergencies. Whenever it snows enough where the city needs to plow the streets, Minneapolis divides its roads into thirds. Every 12 hours, a different one-third of the city’s parking is unavailable — You will get towed if you leave your car in the wrong section; stop asking questions about how I know. Last night at 8 p.m., Minneapolis declared a snow emergency, which meant that tonight, I needed to move my car again before 8 p.m.)

My Uber driver dropped me off at my car a few minutes later. It had been about 20 hours since my car had last been run, so I asked my driver to wait a hot second while I made sure my car would start in the cold (because, you know, frozen phone). On the third try, my car reluctantly started. Cool. I thanked my driver and hopped inside.

I let my car run a couple minutes, and then slid (quite literally) onto the road.

The incredibly strong scent of gasoline wafting from my car, I hoped, wouldn’t make me pass out at the wheel. But if it did, at least I would no longer feel the cold.

I got a couple blocks away and came to a stop at a light. A busy intersection. Rush hour. The light turns green. I hit the gas.

You know the sound a washing machine makes during its final spin cycle? And I don’t mean your mom’s state-of-the-art washing machine. I mean one of those washing machines that’s been in your apartment building since the invention of the washing machine in 1908. Yeah, well that’s the sound my car made. Except it also didn’t go anywhere. And the exhaust coming out of my tailpipe could have polluted a literal entire country. And yes, my phone was still frozen and dead.

I put my flashers on and threw the car in park. And waited, revving the engine from time to time, trying to warm my poor car, while everyone drove around me, staring. Yes, I know I’m in the middle of the road, thanks for noticing.

Anyway, the thing finally started back up a while later, and I made it home. And I’m literally never going outside again. End of discussion. 

And I know I’m *a little* dramatic, but in this weather (which by the way, is the coldest it’s been here in 23 years and the 22nd coldest day the Cities have seen since the literal beginning of recorded time), you can very seriously get frostbite on exposed skin in as little as five minutes. SO DON’T COME FOR ME. But pls do send #thoughtsandprayers for me and my fellow Northerners as we brave the Snowpocalypse of 2019.

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