Some days after my Carmegeddon adventure, I went down to Ithaca to spend the weekend with my brother. After having a good time, I started driving back to Maryland (a five and a half hours drive) on Sunday evening. There was light snow, but the weather didn’t predict anything major, I decided to brave it and make the trip anyway (looks like someone hadn’t learned a lesson from their recent adventures). 

After an hour and a half of driving, I decided to take a coffee break at a major city in Pennsylvania (I don’t remember which now). The snow was increasing. I had two choices now – either to change my plans, spend my night at a hotel and go late to work the next day, or to continue with my journey. Having told myself that the weather report had said things would be okay (not bothering to check if there were any changes in the weather report), I decided to continue with my drive, and got back on the highway. Ten minutes on to the highway, and the snow level started increasing drastically, not too unlike the Carmegeddon day. The visibility level was decreasing as well. I drove carefully and took the next exit. 

As I took the exit, all I could see was white all around. There were no other cars. There was no-one else around. And thanks to the rapid snowfall, the roads had become filled with snow, at least an inch and a half or two (if not more). Driving was becoming difficult. And I did not have the requisite know-how of how to drive adroitly in the snow. To make matters worse, my cell phone did not have a lot of charge, and I did not have a car charger. I suppose I could have called 911 for help, but I was panicking and not thinking clearly. Then out of nowhere, a miracle arrived.

There was a fire truck that was coming from the opposite side of the road towards me. I got out of the car, and gestured for them to stop. I explained my situation to them. “There is a hotel ten miles down this road”, they said. “But the road is filled with snow, how will I be able to drive?”, I asked. “Oh, you have to drive very slowly, at five miles an hour, without accelerating too much. You’ll be fine”, they helpfully said. So I followed their instructions and drove very carefully, mindfully and as promised, ten miles later I was at a Clarion Inn. “I’m afraid the cheapest room we have is $140 a night”, the lady at the front desk told me. After my adventure, I would have taken a room at whatever price they gave me. I spent the night in a cozy bed, I actually informed my office and took the next day off, and after the roads had been cleared, I made my way back to Maryland. All’s well that ends well. I learned that this story too became a part of “Prahalad Mama’s Snow Adventure” bedtime stories for my 4-year old niece. 

While writing the Carmegeddon adventure as well as this one, I realized that a lot in life is relative. If you’re hungry, you’ll pay four times the price for food. If you’re not, a small increase in price will look like daylight robbery. Dan Ariely and Jeff Kreisler say in their powerful Dollars and Sense that humans don’t have an intuition of what the value of something should be. We are conditioned by a variety of factors. Being aware of this can help look at money in a way that serves us better.

In December 2019, during my US visit, I drove down to Rochester to visit my uncle. On the morning I was to drive back, it was snowing! What are the odds! I did decide to make the drive back! I didn’t have any notable adventures, and am happy to report that I had a mundane drive back even though it was snowing for the most part.

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Prahalad Rajkumar

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