As a staunch believer in the scientific method, I’m often tasked with finding a robust scientific explanation for things that happen in my life that seemingly have no explanation.
Usually this works.
There’s often a small pieces of evidence, a small molecule of information that I’m missing that fills in the last remaining piece of the puzzle, thus granting me the complete image, the full picture to gaze upon in wonder and amazement.
Filled in from the edges, the parts to the whole.
So far, in my life, this process has served me well…
Leading me down a path of enlightenment and understanding.
Until a few days ago.
When my world was thrown into a chaotic swirl of snow and freezing ice pellets that matched Mother Nature’s fury against the doubt I held as she flung them in her awesome rage down upon me and the denizens of my fair city.
You see, there had been a severe weather warning for that day.
Freezing rain. Ice pellets. Treacherous conditions. Massive snow accumulation.
By early afternoon, looking out from my workplace window, I saw none of this and held steadfast in my belief that this was not to be.
Another missed weather report. The fallibility of the meteorologist and their woo proven to me yet again. And again. And again.
“Do not believe their lies” the refrain echoing at my echo chamber door “nevermore”.
But as the workday drew to a close, and afternoon gave way to evening as it always does and always will, and my clients one by one advised me of the slowly worsening conditions outside, I knew I was on a slippery slope.
The evidence was falling from the skies above and piling up on the ground below. It was all around me.
Plain to see.
And there was no refutation as I trudged through inches of slurry slush and snow, the sleet assailing my uncovered visage, my unruly beard the only saving grace against Mother Nature’s violence against me and only me, for I doubted her and her proxy.
My head thrust down and forward, my arm wielded as a shield against the elements, I skilfully made my way across the parking lot towards my car, no longer metallic blue but dusted in a foot of blinding white crystalline powder bringing only joy to one type of skier and not another.
As punishment for my disbelief, Mother Nature, in her infinite spite, now bestowed upon me the task of brushing off my car.
Yet another step before I could take my weary body home on what would surely be an extra long commute at the end of an extra long day, my exhausted body forced to contort and sway with the bristled extension fixed to my arm thrust to and fro in that frigid dance.
Unlocking my vehicle, I did as I always do.
My bag and water bottle placed on the passenger seat, just so. My bag pinning the bottle securely in place, a restraint to tether the Nalgene snugly against the seat back.
My phone was haphazardly tossed on the seat as well, a deviation from the normal position in my pocket.
This was done to facilitate two tasks that precede the brushing off…
One, turning the key in the ignition. That first step on an icy, snowy day to being the defrosting process, that ever important task of gifting visibility.
And two, reaching into the floor well of the passenger seat to grab the snowbrush.
With the preparatory tasks complete, my little blue bell humming along, I closed the door and began the arduous process of undoing Mother Nature’s handiwork.
10 minutes later, my car restored to it’s mostly shining blue glory, I was ready to head home.
Looking back over the parking lot, the dozens of cars surrounding me, now even in that small amount of time, covered in an even greater accumulation of thick snow.
I shook my head in pity for those who would come out later and have to spend twice as much time as I just did to free their cars.
My insolence against Mother Nature costing them as well. Punished for my acts, my thoughts. Those poor souls.
As I pulled on the door handle, nothing happened.
And therein lies the problem.
Something should have happened.
The door should have opened.
There should have been a slight clicking sound, then a quiet whoosh as the entryway appeared.
The gateway home. My gateway home.
I tried again.
I felt a thudding inside my thin fall jacket.
It was my heart.
Filling with icicles in the frozen wasteland.
But then my brain, taking charge of the situation, told me to try the other doors.
That perhaps it was just a sudden freeze from the icy pellets on the latch mechanism.
And still nothing.
Not even the hatch at the back would yield.
The harder I pulled on those handles, the deeper my heart sank.
Everything was inside.
My phone. My wallet. My water.
Even my emergency winter survival kit was inside.
I now found myself, practically naked in my thin fall jacket, outside, alone, likely soon to be dehydrated and worst off…
…without my phone, in a barren parking lot, outside of work.
My brain, overcoming the tunnel vision and narrow focus of intense adrenaline, heard those words and brought clarity.
“Outside of work”
All was not lost.
I would not be found here, blue and frozen, days or weeks later.
I could go inside and call roadside assistance.
Which is exactly what I did.
And then waited an hour and a half, as little blue belle continued to chug away, my heater and defroster working beautifully as mine was the only vehicle whose windshield was now devoid of snow.
Gentle puffs of exhaust tooting out the back and vanishing into the white swirls.
As the lockout specialist pulled up and gained entry in less than 30 seconds, we discussed what could have happened.
How I could have ended up this way for the first time in my life.
How I could have locked myself out of my car with the engine running on a day like today.
There was only one logical, scientific explanation.