We got a bit more snow the first Sunday in March. While the forecast called for an inch or two, we ended up with closer to four or five.

Carol was in Boston at her monthly yoga teacher training, and I’d rented a compact car for the weekend so I could run some errands while she was out of town. Our plan was to meet Sunday evening at the rental facility just off the highway, where I’d return the rental and we’d come home together in our car. Carol called me when she was about 20 miles from the exit, and I prepared to meet her as planned. I’d been out earlier that day with no problem, but now — with more snow and dropping temps — the driveway had become too slippery for me to make it up the hill. Having gotten stuck in a snow bank in the driveway once already this season (and also the year before), when the rental car started to slip going up I knew better than to give it another try. All I needed to do was cautiously back down the way I’d come and wait for the weather to improve the next day before making another attempt.

The rental car, however, had a different idea and decided that, regardless of how slowly I drove and cautiously I steered, it would slide in a direction of its own choosing and deposit itself snugly against one side of the driveway, picking the spot with 1) the highest amount of snow bank and 2) saplings arranged like a picket fence, all but guaranteeing I couldn’t get out on the driver’s side. Dammit dammit dammit DAMMIT! I crawled over the console between the seats and worked my way out the passenger side. Please keep in mind this was a compact car and I am far from compact. After extricating myself (picture pulling the first pickle out of a tightly-packed jar) I walked down the driveway to get the snow shovel and start to clear what I could from the stuck side.

Within a few minutes it was apparent I wasn’t going to make any rapid headway, so I called Carol to abort the rendezvous and told her to just come directly to the house. Thirty minutes later she pulled up at the top of the driveway, honking the horn to let me know she’d arrived. Rather than walking up the icy incline I pulled out my phone and called her — going straight to her voicemail since she was calling me at the same time. I redialed, again reaching her voicemail. So, I trudged up the driveway to brief her on the battle plan. I told her to wait until I’d gotten back to the car and then carefully roll past, turn around, and come up behind the rental car to see if we could manage to push it free using her front bumper. I started to walk/slide back down the driveway and after a few steps Carol honked her horn. I turned around and saw her skidding down the drive directly toward me, brakes ineffective in slowing her approach. I now made a frantic dash down the driveway, diving behind the back of the rental just as she schussed past me in her SUV. I began to unleash a stream of profanity in her direction, expletives flying without a break as she turned the car around and cautiously began to drive back in my direction. I walked the last few steps to meet her as she approached; she lowered the passenger side window to explain herself and I made it clear I didn’t care WHAT her effing excuse was and Jay-Effing-See what the EFF was she doing — spewing forth shameful invective that would have made Joe Pesci blush. Carol told me later that she put up her hands to shield herself from my rant partly in defense but mostly because she didn’t want me to see how hard she was laughing at my loss of composure.

More digging and pushing and twenty minutes later we got the rental car out into the middle of the driveway and I was able to carefully roll back to a level position near the house. We walked inside together and as I stepped out of my snow- and sweat-soaked clothing I offered Carol a sincere apology for my temper tantrum, which she graciously accepted. We had the driveway plowed the next morning and after the sun was out for a bit, the ice underneath melted and we were both able to drive up and out and get the rental car returned without further incident.

However, Carol now has a new threat to hold over my head when I do something that displeases her: “Next time I won’t honk.” It’s surprisingly effective.