Saturday, July 29, 2017

Stuck On a Dead End Road

Every April my neighbours go away for a whole month. They’re a retired couple who live in an old school house a few miles away. Where I live in northern Ontario, that’s a normal distance between neighbours.

For the past seven years I have been the person to make occasional stops at their house to water their plants and make sure everything's alright while they’re away. Normally I walk through the bush to get to their place but one time I drove over. I made it halfway down their private road when the dirt road was starting to get really soft (we’ve been having a lot of rain that spring). I didn’t want to get my car stuck so I put it in park and walked the remaining kilometre or so.

My neighbours live on an incredible plot of land with a river running along one side. I’ve always loved coming up to their house and walking alongside the water. Their house is really cool too (it used to be an old school house from the 50s or something). Anyway, I make it to their house, water all their plants, check their fridge (nothing interesting), and head back.

On the walk back to my car it starts to rain. I hurry my pace and reach the car just in time before it really starts coming down. I turn the car around and start driving back when I see a man standing in the middle of the road. My wipers are on full speed and the rain makes it hard to see but I definitely see an outline of a very large person standing approx 50 meters up ahead blocking the road. I don’t know if I was more scared or confused but I put my foot down on the brakes and waited to see what he’d do. So many questions were going through my mind, like what was he doing standing in the pouring rain? Why was he on a private dead-end road? And why was he blocking my only way out? After a few minutes he started slowly walking towards me. I didn’t move my car and decided to wait until he’d get closer before I’d high tail it past him. When he made it halfway to my car… I recognized who it was. A moose with a small calf right behind her. I was so relieved! And also amused by the optical illusion/my imagination. She walked within 3 meters of my car before stopping to stare some more.

We both stayed like that for five or seven minutes just staring at each other before it started getting tiring for me and I gently honked my horn to make her get out of my way. My Mazda 3 has a pretty lame horn and it did nothing for the moose, who remained where she was. I released my brakes and thought if I’d start slowly creeping forward she’d get out of my way. I released the brakes and the car remained in the same position. I gently tapped the gas and got nowhere. Applied some more gas and could hear my tire spin in the mud.

Turns out in all that time I spent staring, my car slowly began sinking into a pool of water that turned to mud. I thought about trying to pull a Survivorman move and get some pine tree branches to put under and around the tires for traction but was worried the moose would attack or something. So I called my dad who was at work and he told me to not get out of the car because wild mama animals can be unpredictable. He gave me the number to the tow truck company and I gave them a call. This whole time the moose stood near my car but I was sure they’d both run off once the tow truck came.

They ended up getting bored and leaving soon after and I was left alone for an hour (in the dark and pouring rain) listening to 80s music in my car until the tow truck came. Because we live 45 mins from town, it was close to 8 pm when the guy arrived. Since the road was so narrow, he couldn’t drive around me to pull my car out from behind and there wasn’t room for him to turn his truck around either so he pulled me out from the front and then he had to reverse his whole way out of the windy road in the dark to get back on the main road. I felt pretty bad for him, but worse for myself (the bill was $200!) but still relieved that I didn’t come across a serial killer that night… On an empty dirt road near an old school house.


No comments: