I spent Monday morning getting to know my street. I already knew I had to dig out my car, because I didn’t elect the particular snow bank it stopped astride the night before. After clearing out what I could see, I played the forward-reverse-forward-reverse game until it lurched diagonally into the middle of the road, where it was snow-seized again. I spun in place for five minutes before I remembered seeing my roommate escape from a similar bind. I got out, grabbed the floor mats from the back seat, wedged them under my tires, and crawled free. I felt pretty cool.

Our road’s L-shaped. I got rolling down the long arm without much trouble, and made the elbow without drifting into any mailboxes or parked cars. The end was in sight. I gunned it up what looked to me like an incline about as threatening as what you might find on, say, the eighth hole of a miniature golf course, though it may as well have been a mountainside. I lost all traction and rolled back down. I backed up and tried again. And again. In my rearview mirror, I saw a man in a dark blue snowsuit shoveling the sidewalk back near the crook in the street. I didn’t want him to come help. I decided I would flash my native-son status by performing my now-trusty floor mat trick as if I had been doing it, successfully, for all my years. I stopped at the highest point on the hill I could, tucked the rubber mats in front of my wheels, and proceeded to melt their edges with impotent tire-spinning.

My best bet, I thought, was to turn around and try to make it out at the other end of the street. I backed up past several houses and swung into one whose driveway seemed relatively clear. I shifted into drive and didn’t go anywhere. I stepped on the gas and didn’t go anywhere. I looked out the passenger window at the blue-suited man shoveling, looked away, and revved stubbornly.

The garage door behind me started opening and a neighbor walked out. I rolled down my window. “I’ve got some cardboard we can put under your tires, and then maybe I can get this guy to come help me push you out,” she said. I resisted the urge to endorse my floor mats.

We tore up a box and lined the ground with it. She called over to the shoveler. He had a fur hat and his beard was frosted over. “Is no good day for driving, ah?” he said, as if he came from a place in Northern Europe that looked about like this in mid-summer. I got back in the car.

Before I hit the gas, a little girl, bundled in pink, skipped out of the house. The three of them lined the bumper in my mirror. I started rocking the car forward, and they leaned in rhythm. When I caught the ground, I didn’t stop until I made it off our street. I raised my hand high out the window and didn’t look back.

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