Last Saturday I was to a party. Yes, I do this from time to time. It was a rather informal meeting in a Bucharest club, 10 people at most. I only knew the organizer, a close friend of mine and partner in my blogging workshop.
I don’t know if it was the music, the quality of the people or the fact that I didn’t attend to a party for some time now, fact is it was amazing. I had a lot of quality fun and enjoyed good music, dancing and exquisite company. Little I know at that time that this rather beautiful experience had to set course for one of the most pressuring experiences in my life.
Around 4 AM we decided it’s time to go. Since I was one of the few people who came by car, I got the honor of driving a few people home. Once out of the club, one of the most snowy nights in my life took over. I could barely recognize my car, although I didn’t spend more than 6-7 hours in the club.
I drove 3 people home, which made for one and half hour of driving through snow. I live outside Bucharest, in a rather isolated compound. Around 5:15 AM I got home and after getting over the isolated road which connects us to the world, I finally entered the compound. Only two turns and I’m home. With my mind already at a hot cup of tea, I took the turn to the left and puff… car stopped.
Let me tell you something about my self: my car doesn’t stop in the snow. Never. And I mean it. Puzzled and almost ashamed, I tried for at least 30 minutes to use some balance, accelerations and other techniques, to no success. My car was stuck in the snow. And the blizzard got more and more powerful. I walked to my house (50 meters away) and took a shovel. Another 30 minutes of work, using the shovel. No success.
Almost desperate, I got home and took some blankets left outside on the bench. Put them under the wheels and voila: I was finally moving again. Took me one hour of work at 50 meters from my picket fence, but I finally got home. Huh.
The Second Act
Around noon, I decided it’s time to go for some shopping. Weather news were rather worrying and the next day I have to fly to Rome. So getting some supplies for my family to make sure they’ll be fine while I was away seemed like a good idea. Back in the car and rushing to the store.
Alas, I was rushing only for 45 meters because 10 meters to the infamous place of my first forced stop, here I am, stuck again. This time, I got a huge quantity of snow under the car and the wheels didn’t actually touched the ground. Funny. And irritating.
After 45 minutes of shoveling and swearing a neighbor came. Probably frustrated by the noise of my car engine. He bring in a fence made by dry reed. After a few trials and errors we pulled the car out. All this time blizzard was getting stronger and stronger.
I parked the car, entered the house and started to watch the TV weather report closely. Apparently, it was an orange code for blizzard and snow. Which means it was pretty nasty. Orange code is bad. Worse than orange code is only red code and when you have red code is super bad.
After a few hours my ears were pleasantly surprised by the incredible sound of a really big engine, entering our street. A snow plough! Yes! It was about time.
The Third Act
With only 1 hour till dark I decided to give it a try. Again. After all, my plane was leaving tomorrow (early) morning and I still had to do that shopping. Snow plough seemed to cleaned up the streets of the compound but when I got out, I started to feel a little bit chilly. Obviously, the snow plough was there too, only outside the compound it was… well, open field. The blizzard was going on pretty strong so I could barely recognize the road.
Took me only 200 meters outside the compound to get stuck again. Third time. Open field. Nothing to see around, other than the compound, blurrier as the weather got worse and the dark was rapidly going down. I took my good friend, the shovel, and started to strengthen our relationship.
To no success, of course. After 45 minutes of shoveling I decided to abandon the car in the middle of the road. Or what I thought it was the middle of the road. Snow was around 80 cm deep. Back home, all televisions were broadcasting catastrophic news about the snow and how the entire South of the country was blocked.
And my plane? Am I going to catch my plane? I stayed awake until 12:30 AM when I decided I won’t. Even if I would make it by foot (that would be a mile on open field at 4:30 AM, blizzard and 1 meter snow) what about my car? It was right in the middle of the road and in the morning there will be another snow plough coming to clean the compound streets.
So, I took a nap and slowly allowed my feelings of depression to take over. When I woke up I was pretty pumped with frustration. I hate being stuck.
The Fourth Act
Well, around 11 AM a neighbor come to my door telling me to get the car out of the road, making some room for the snow plough. Happiness and joy. Only for a few minutes, until I got outside. It was surrealistic. Snow was around 1.5 meters around my house and blizzard was going on as strong as yesterday.
Briefly watched the sky, same way you watch a bottle of wine trying to figure out if there’s still something left. Only this time I didn’t want to be any snow left in the sky. But nope, the snow was strong and so was the blizzard. When I got to the car I saw the snow plough made a detour, leaving my car untouched. I talked with the driver and he told me he had to clean the compund first and he’ll see if he can help me after that. Should I wait for him in the car? Of course, I’ll be back in 15 minutes, driver said.
After 1 hour of trying to get warm in my car, the plough finally came out of the neighborhood. My time was finally came! I asked him to pull me to the main road, about 1 mile. He agreed and after another few failed attempts, I finally attached my car to his back and we’re rolling.
Main road was clean and I finally got to do that shopping. 24 hours delay, but did it. My family was about to be happy. On the way back, everything went fine, until I got to a place where the road couldn’t be seen. And it was a very good reason for that: it was completely covered in snow. Not more than 10-15 meters, but seemed like the wind had a preference for that specific part, because it stacked like 1 meter of snow exactly there.
Despite my intention to go through it full speed, accelerating like in a bob race, I only managed to put my car even deeper than I wanted in the snow. 4th time. Open field again. Blizzard as always. With a few neighbors at the other end of the road, waiting for me to get out. Only I couldn’t even open the door. Car was like in a snow container, 5 centimeters to the white walls each side.
If there are ethereal beings surrounding us every moment, called angels, well, my angels surely got enough material to fill up a full dictionary of 4 letters words. I swear. I really do. I can get really, really creative. If I’m on the “right” setup – stuck in the middle of nowhere, for instance, with no perspective to get out soon – I can do it for 30 minutes in a row, without repeating! And I mean it.
At some point I was so frustrated that I was almost waiting for the windshield to crack up. I could physically feel the pressure from the inside. And the pressure from the inside was infinitesimally small compared with the pressure from the outside. Seemed like I just couldn’t make anything to find my way home in that storm.
Suddenly, I remembered I got the phone from the guy with the snow plough. I called him and begged him to come back. Promised an obscene bribe which finally made him change his mind and promise he will come pick me up in about… 2 hours! 2 hours!!! Meanwhile, neighbors at the other end of the road took their shovels and came to help me. Of course, nothing happened.
Minutes later, I noticed something interesting on the field. A few hundreds meters away there was a gipsy shelter. I saw two gipsies running towards me and in seconds I saw them pushing my car. After a few minutes in which they worked with my neighbors, they disappeared.
In less than 10 minutes they were back again, carrying… a horse! Yeap, brilliant idea. We attached the car to the horse and, in a few minutes, I was witnessing one of the most incredible images in my entire life: my 4×4 car was pulled in the snow by a white horse, with a running gipsy near it. For a few seconds, I was living in another world. Don’t you ever dare to ask me why I didn’t pull out my iPhone to take a picture of it. Because it did crossed my mind but at the time I was ready to do it, we were already there.
What I Learned From It
Nothing. Seriously. Sometimes I think we just have to leave away all that personal development shmancy-fancy mumbo-jumbo and just live. Just experience things. I felt powerless and defeated. Missed my plane to Rome – and a potential business involving one of my favorite personal development gurus, Tony Robbins – and got stuck in snow four times. Frustration was a feeble euphemism for what I felt.
But the next day – meaning today – everything was changed. Weather was incredible. Sunny. Clear. Blizzard stopped. Looked like my 4 snow accidents were just nightmares, nothing real.
Took my friend, the shovel, and got out. Without planning it, I started to shovel the snow away form the road in front of my house. Spent around 2 hours. I moved around a ton of snow (300+ shovels at 3-4 kg average shovel).
It was my belated revenge. See, I can do stuff! You can’t make me feel powerless for ever. I can move 1 ton of snow, if I want. I’m still here. Didn’t learned anything from your stupid lesson but I’m still here.
Felt really good.
Running For My Life - from zero to ultramarathoner
The spooky thing about depression is that it sneaks in. There aren’t really trumpets and loud voices announcing: “Hail, hail, this is depression entering the room, all rise!” Nope. It’s slow, silent, creepy. It doesn’t even look like depression. It starts with small isolation thoughts like: “Maybe I shouldn’t get out today, I just don’t feel like going out”. And then it does the same next day. And then the day after that and so on. And then it starts to whisper louder and louder in your ears: “Why would you go outside, you loser? Didn’t have enough yet? Want more people to make fun of how much of a big, fat loser you are?”
And then you start to breath in guilt and shame, instead of air. Every breathe you take is putting more dark thoughts into your body.
Until you get stuck. You can’t move anymore. At all.
If you want to know how I got out of this space, eventually, check out my latest book on Amazon and Kindle.