Quality of Life

Some people like to say, "Eat well, do good, get exercise, and die anyway," as some sort of excuse for partying, being unhealthy and/or being inconsiderate. This logic has no place in a happy, fulfilling and successful life. Regardless of when you die, you want the life you live today, and tomorrow to be the best life you can possibly have. There is no excuse for not doing the best for yourself and the best you can for those you love. Even if I were going to die in six months, I still would continue my diet exactly as I do (if not do even better) because I want the highest quality for my life. The quantity is quite irrelevant.

~Raederle Phoenix Jacot

"Are you really sure that a floor can't also be a ceiling?" ~ M. C. Escher

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Tire & A Muffler

The conclusion from the previous entry.

We decided to turn around and go back the way we came, but when we punched into the GPS to head back to a city we had come from a long way back, it told us to take a slightly different route. We were thankful for this, because it didn't take us back through the mud we had gotten stuck in, but it became clear after a short time that the way it was taking us involved more snow.

We came to a sharp incline covered heavily in snow. My father sped up, clearly hoping to gain enough speed to rush up to the top of the incline. About half way up we stopped dead. Lytenian and I got out and tried to push, but it was no good. He reversed and went back a bit, but began to slide towards the dangerously close cliff side. I directed to steer more into the ditch on the opposite side of the road of the road; images of the car going over the edge running through my head unbidden.

My father angled the wheels towards the mountain, towards the 'harmless' ditch, and away from the disastrous fall to our right. He backed up a bit, and then tried to go forward, but when he tried to go forward it was no use. The front wheels slid, the back wheels remained in place, putting the car's front closer to the edge. I was panicked and began to yell (almost repeatedly) that he had to back up further towards the mountain. Perhaps I didn't believe that would get us up the hill at all, maybe I wanted us to get stuck in the ditch because that would be better than losing my father over the edge of the mountain.

And, if that was my desire, I got what I wanted. He backed up into the ditch. (This, of course, was after much moving around of snow, digging, salting, pushing, rocking the car, etc, on many occasions and on this occasion. We were then out of snow and my shoes were soaked through and my feet were freezing.) The car then was clearly not going forward and my father and Lytenian returned to pushing the snow around with the snow brush. (We didn't have a shovel.)

I wandered down the hill a little ways and turned away. My feet began to feel like someone was stabbing daggers into them. I was cold head to toe, but my toes in particular burned. I shivered, and looked unseeing out at the beautiful landscape. I couldn't recognize my surroundings anymore. I was inside a ball of freezing terror, unsure I'd ever leave.

Please let us get up this hill... Was all I had been thinking before, but I changed my tune then. Instead of trying to will the car to make it up the hill, I began praying for someone to come along and rescue us. I ran over our supplies in my head. We had a little to eat in the cooler and some snacks besides. We had plenty of blankets and gasoline to keep the car warm. We could wait...

Lytenian was terrified that we'd end up waiting. At one point he exclaimed, “We have to make it up this hill! How often do you think people come through here? It could be days!” He was worried he wouldn't make it to work today.

We hadn't seen anybody along that road. Not anybody at all. No houses, no cars, no signs...

I prayed, tears streaming down my face.

And then, after getting my face thoroughly wet, I felt a little silly and wiped my face and walked back to look at the 'progress.' I didn't see anything though. I remember turning around and walking back, but I don't recall seeing anything at all. Perhaps I just stared at my burning and freezing feet. Or maybe I looked at the car with my eyes out of focus. Maybe I looked at the top of the road and hoped someone would come around it. I stood there and continued to pray silently, feeling utterly small in the universe.

And then, miraculously, I heard a sound. My eyes lifted from there unknown focal point and looked expectantly at the top of the hill. A black vehicle comes around the corner. One that is clearly meant for this sort of road. Lytenian and my father stop whatever it was they were doing and then look expectantly up at them. We're quiet, clearly unable to speak as the vehicle approaches.

Two men come out. Virgil and... I can't think of the other man's name at the moment. One of them said, “In a bit of a bind, are you?” Lytenian says, “A bit, yes.”

My father presents them with our toe-rope. It's a darn-good thing we had one. They get it rigged to our car. And they pull us to the top of the hill. In the process, our muffler comes off. Turns out that it's entirely rotted out and a piece of junk anyway, but still...

We pull away and manage to not get stuck in the snow again, but the road was still rough and treacherous. It wasn't long before there is the sickening pop and then the uneven rumble that indicated a distinctly flat tire. A pot hole. Luckily we had a good spare tire (not just a donut). It was changed it due time, and we were underway again.

Incredibly, shortly before nightfall we arrived at a paved road and headed back down the coastal highway the same way we had come. I fell asleep in the car beside Lytenian and rested quite well.

Pictures and videos soon to come on my myspace.

My Father's Telling Of This Same Experience

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