Archive for the ‘ Stories ’ Category

Italy

There’s this story my dad loves to tell every so often. It’s a great story, the problem is, he mentions it almost every few months during some mildly related conversation. Its not that he’s obsessed with telling it, it’s that he forgets that he’s already told it. So each time, he thinks he’s telling this amazing story I never knew, for the first time, when in fact, it’s like the 21st time.

Anyway story goes, my family was in Italy once when I was a baby, about a year old. And we were living there for a few months, and my father was looking for work but it was hard because he spoke no Italian and no English, for that matter. One day my hat flies off in the wind. It blows away and my dad starts to run after it. An elderly Italian man picks up the hat and gives it to my father. Somehow, someway, through universal sign language, this man ends up offering my dad a job. He worked the entire three months we lived there. All because of my hat.

So there it is. The story my father loves to tell, and will continue telling it, for the first time, each time.

The Worst Night of My Entire Life

I wish I could wake up and realize it was all just a dream. In fact, a day later, it doesn’t feel like 24 hours ago. It feels like 24 years ago. It’s a strange feeling. Perhaps everyone experiences it at some point in their life. In my life, I experienced it, for the first and hopefully the last time, last night. It started in the day time. I had to get to work. I usually drive, and it usually takes about 30-40 minutes. A blizzard warning was in effect. Nobody had any idea how bad it would be. I wish I listened to higher reasoning, because if I did, I would have saved everyone around a night of sleep, and I would have saved myself a night of horror that I never want to relive again. It was 11 o’clock at night when I got off work. I borrowed my father’s Range Rover because I knew it was powerful enough for the snow. Unfortunately for me, by the time I got out of work, the snow had accumulated to about 14 or 16 inches and didn’t stop until 7am. I drove back, but the bridges were closed. The roadways were closed. Cars were stuck in the snow. I tried to find an open route. I got stuck in the snow. A guy came over and helped dig me out. All I had were 20s on me, so I gave him one once he shoveled my car out. I went on my way. I took the long way home. The extremely long way home. I got back to Brooklyn from the city, and thought “gee, I might actually make it.” But more cars and buses were stuck in the snow, as it had accumulated even further by now.

The clock struck 1 am. Three hours on the road. At this point, there were snowed in cars in every which way. After about 45 minutes, a tiny road cleared and I made it out. The problem now was that I had an empty tank of gas. On this night, out of all nights, I was almost out of gas and was terrified at what would happen when the needle fell below 0. I drove as far as I could. But the roads were closed off further down. I turned around, in an attempt to go back and find another way. Then I hit my first real bump. I got stuck in the snow and could not get out. I shoveled snow for an hour and it didn’t help. Finally after some advice from my older brother, I got out. I was almost out of gas, and when a gentleman in another car promised he’d go to a gas station and get gas for us, I gave him my gas bucket. He never returned. I drove back with whatever little gas I had left and found another route. Then I hit my second bump, the biggest bump of the night. My gas tank was empty and I was finished. It was 3 am now. My car was stuck in the middle of the road, I was all alone and there was nobody around. My hands were frozen. My shoes soaked in ice. I went to a gas station nearby, but they conveniently were out of gas. A couple of religious Jews stopped, and I begged them to drive me to a gas station. They were worried they would get stuck if they made the trek to the gas station, but through a brief conversation we realized we had mutual acquaintances and decided to help me out. About 30 seconds later, they got stuck in the snow and abandoned their car. I got out and pleaded with the next car that came by, a young Hispanic in a big GMC truck, a powerful car. I begged him to drive me to the gas station and offered him $20 to do so. He obliged and drove, reverse (that was the only way to drive at this point, because u-turns were out of the question), all the way to the gas station. However, he couldn’t make it past a big roadblock so he stopped about two blocks away. I ran to the station, bought a two gallon bucket of gas, because that’s the biggest bucket they had, and walked back to the GMC, where Luis was still waiting for me. Thank God for him, because if he didn’t drive me to the station, I would have been stuck in the road the entire night. The snow did me in, but the empty gas tank was the real nail in the coffin. He drove me back to my car. I thanked him and asked him for his contact information because I felt he deserved more than a $20 bill for his help. He literally saved me.

My hands were frozen now. I couldn’t feel my feet either. My gloves were icicles. I saw another pair of gloves in the car, my mother’s. I took off the ice cubes from my fingers and put on the gloves. I started to regain feeling in my hands after about 30 minutes. My feet were still numb. The damn gas bucket was impossible to figure out. I felt so stupid, for a variety of reasons, but how could I not at least figure out how to siphon the damn gas into my tank? After an hour of fidgeting with it, I finally figured it out, no help from the ridiculous directions. Obviously what I got was only about a gallon and change out of it, not enough to get home, but enough to get to another gas station. A guy in a snow plow came by. I asked him to pave the road. He said he didn’t work for the city. He worked for himself. He worked for money. I had $1 on my person. I offered him $40 to clean the next couple of streets, just so I could get out. He obliged. Once he cleaned it, he approached me for the money. I told him I had no cash, but that I promised to send him the money if he gave me his contact info. I swore to God and all that was holy that I would do it, but it did not please him. He waved his hand in disgust and walked away. I drove down a cleaned street, until I reached another gas station. I got two gallons, emptied it into my tank, then got another two gallons, and emptied that too. Now I had enough to get home. I took a familiar avenue that I knew would be cleaned.

It was about 5 am now. I was driving fine for a few minutes and was close to home. Finally, I hit the last road block of the night. I was about three blocks from my home, and got stuck in a pit of snow, this time there was no getting out. I called for help, and my father, who didn’t sleep all night, made the trek to meet me. He brought a shovel and started digging out snow. I had no strength left. I felt like passing out. My feet were so numb and frozen, I got scared that I had caused permanent damage to them. We dug out snow for a half an hour. Finally, somehow, someway, we got out. We drove to a nearby gas station and filled up. I felt good being in the presence of someone familiar. I had been alone all night up until that point, utterly helpless. It was my doing, of course, and I acknowledge that. The utter stupidity it took to get to the point where I was was astounding to me. I had never felt so horrible in my life. It was around 6:30 am now. We filled up at the station and drove back. We left the car a few blocks from home, because some of the streets hadn’t been cleaned yet and it was impossible to get through. So we left the car at a bus stop, the only available spot to leave a parked car and walked back. There were dozens of cars just stranded in the middle of the road, abandoned by their drivers.

The snow had finally stopped. There was about two feet of it below us. I was so exhausted, I didn’t know it was possible to be this excruciatingly tired and out of energy. It was 7 am when we got back home. It took me eight hours. I felt a burning sensation in my foot. I took a bath, followed by a shower, followed by another bath, followed by another shower. I washed my hair several times. I washed my hands several times. I sat in the tub for 30 minutes, thinking of how ridiculous and insane it all was. I drank a hot cup of tea and went to bed. I kept thinking of the people who helped me. I massaged my face. I could still smell the gasoline on my fingers. I didn’t think I’d make it, but I was finally home.

I wonder what it all meant. The blizzard, the empty gas tank, the gas station that was out of gas, all the moments of being snowed in. Maybe it doesn’t mean anything. Maybe it’s just a sign of my arrogance and refusal to listen to better reasoning. Whatever it is, I’m glad I’m safe. I caused a lot of trouble for my family. I endured a hellish night. A living nightmare. I’ll hear about this for a long time. I deserve it though. I brought it on myself. It’s really unfair though, you know? People learn more from their mistakes and failures than from their successes. It’s the way life goes, I guess. Hm. I don’t think I have much more to say about this. I think I’ve said it all.

A Story

The scariest dream I ever had was the one where I lived forever. For hundreds and hundreds and thousands of years. And eventually, civilization comes to an end. God decides to eliminate humans once again, even though He promised He never would again, He does anyway. But right before He does, He comes down from the heavens and kneels down before me. He begins to talk but only I can hear him. He whispers in my ear, just a whisper, even though it was loud enough, and He says ‘you’re the only one who understands me’. Because no one knows the past. No one knows what God has had to endure. No one has that kind of information except for Him and me. And I was cast out. The first few hundred years were okay, I got to see a lot of unique things and bed a lot of beautiful women. But then humans stopped looking like humans. After a few hundred years, they began looking like animals, like filth! And I was looked upon as an alien. No one ever figured out why. So on that last day of the world, I whispered back to Him, ‘You’re the only one who understands me too’. And then the world went black, and it went silent. And God did something that humans do for a third of their entire existence. He went to sleep.