I Lived Through a Sub-Zero Winter Hellscape Commute to Work: A Survivor’s True Tale of Survival

st.louis-archI write this from the depths of the igloo I have carved out of snow and ice and self-respect. As the night falls, the temperatures drop even lower in St. Louis, and I know not how much longer I will hold out. But I must write this blog entry if it’s the last thing I do. Because it’s Monday night, and that’s what I do on Monday nights.

My name is Jamey Stegmaier, and I am a survivor. This is my story.

The snownado hit St. Louis late Saturday night with the force of a thousand Yetis. By Sunday morning the city was an idyllic winter wonderland–white powder covered the ground, icicles tangled from branches, and the St. Louis Cardinals are the best team in baseball. All of those things are true.

My cats and I decided to spend the day indoors, sipping hot cocoa and singing classic snow-day songs like “Winter Wonderland” and “Wrecking Ball.” Eventually we burrowed under the covers and fell asleep, delighted by the idea that I work from home now, so on Monday I wouldn’t have to drive through the snow to get to work.

Then everything changed.

When I woke up, I did what any good employee would do: I made chocolate chip pancakes, didn’t shower, and didn’t change out of my pajamas. I worked for a few hours, pausing every once in a while to soak in the beauty of the snowy landscape outside my windows. It had stopped snowing, and the sun was glinting off the layers of powder. How nice it must be outside, I thought.

I have never been more wrong.

Around noon I decided to go outside to brush the snow off my car. Sure, I didn’t have to go anywhere, but I didn’t want the snow to stay there forever. Eventually I’d have to drive somewhere.

I slipped on a thin jacket and skipped out into the snow, waiting for the sun to welcome me in its warm embrace. It was then that I learned the truth about the deceptively cheery outside view: The sun was shining rays of cold death.

Instantly regretting my decision to not wear a hat, gloves, or proper pants, I scurried over to my car and grabbed the brush out of the trunk. The threat of freezing rapidly closing in, I brushed the snow off my car, then the car next to me, then a few more (my neighbors may not acknowledge one another, but we’re in this together!)

By the time I was done, the combination of sun and cold had blinded me to the point of no return. I stumbled off the parking lot into snowdrifts and trees trying to find my way back inside, all to no avail. I couldn’t use the touch pad on my cell phone due to my frozen fingers, and my car’s emergency OnStar service didn’t work because I don’t have OnStar. I even tried calling the eagles like Gandalf does in Lord of the Rings when he’s about to die or needs a Slurpee, but none came for me. I was on my own.

Fortunately, I’ve lived through quite a bit in my day, and my survival instincts kicked in: First, I stopped, dropped, and rolled. This resulted in me burying myself alive in the snow. Second, I did a self-check for testicular cancer. Apparently this is looked down on in public, but safety comes first. Third, I made a fire out of lives, bramble, and my neighbor’s car (I had brushed a little snow off of it, so the owed me).

Although it was only noon, I knew from past experiences that night would eventually come. I decided that the best use of my time and energy was to create an elaborate igloo built against the wall of my apartment building. It even shared a window with someone’s first-floor bathroom.

This brings us to the present. I write this from inside the igloo, knowing that my time is running out. I’m out of food, water, and my igloo keeps melting. If I make it to the morning, I will count myself among the lucky few. If not, please take care of my cats and my Kickstarter backers. Backers come first.

Sincerely,

Jamey

PS. Read more of my survivor’s “true” tales of survival here!