I jumped out of bed and got dressed immediately, skipping the usual early morning cold shower. I had to get to the airport for a much-anticipated visit to San Francisco for New Year's, so there was no time to dawdle. I made some Bulletproof coffee, grabbed my bags and ran out the door into ... the snow. What a nice surprise.
There was about an inch of snow covering the roads and my newly-acquired vehicle. "It's only an inch," I thought, "the highways should be fine." So I warmed up the 4x4 while I scraped snow and ice off the windows and loaded up.
As I had predicted, the highway was fine. It had been freshly plowed, and visibility was fine. I cruised at 65 - 70 mph, thankful that it wasn't a bigger storm! And then Murphy's law decided to offer proof of its existence...
Just as I hit the edge of the Mogollon Rim, decorated with yellow signs reading "CAUTION MOUNTAIN GRADES - NEXT 15 MILES," a blizzard came upon me with fury. There was no warning - one second I was cruising at 70 on a road with two clear tire tracks leading the way through the light snow, and the next I was in a totally white landscape. The road blended seamlessly with the edge of the highway, and huge, fluffy snowflakes obstructed any views beyond a few feet in front of me.
I shit you not (ironic pun intended), I felt my stomach walls slam together and begin to knot, and my bowels release. I was fairly certain I had just soiled myself.
Unfortunately, there was no time to fret about my pant predicament. I had to slow the truck quickly in the snow before I went flying off the road into one of those big, fluffy-looking snow-covered mounds that I am sure were not as fluffy as they appeared. Luckily, I slowed, regained composure, and began to drive slowly down the mountain grades, still unable to see much of anything. The rest of the drive is details, but it involved a lot of clutching the steering wheel, squinting, and praying. Eventually the snow cleared, and I sped down the highway to Phoenix in hopes that I wouldn't miss my flight.
When I got to the airport, I was running dangerously late. No time to check myself. Ughhh. I sprinted into the terminal and, with a brief delay in the security line (they had to inspect my 'rock rings' - training holds for climbing) I made it to the gate as they were finishing boarding the plane. I hurried down the tunnel at the gate and onto the plane, found a seat, and started imagining people saying to themselves "DUDE... where did this guy come from!? He smells like he shit himself!"
When the fasten seatbelt sign blinked off, I ran to the bathroom. Finally, the moment I had been... well... dreading. In the tiny confines of the plane's bathroom, I pulled down my pants, slightly bending over in the process. The bend caused my butt to hit the wall behind me, propelling myself forward and smashing my head into the other wall. Damn tiny airplane bathrooms!!!
Anyway, to end the drama, all was well. Apparently in my terror, I had overestimated the damage; in fact, there was no damage at all. What a magical relief. Then, I relieved myself further and returned to my seat.
As the old saying goes, you learn something new everyday. Today, despite my estimation mistake, I can say that I have a far better understanding of what it means to 'scare someone shitless'.