I alone was in the dressing room yesterday afternoon, trying on clothes I plan to wear when TJ and I fly to my tropical island home of Saipan in March when Mike called me. “Are you okay to drive home?” he asked.
I said yeah, I would be fine. I knew he was talking about the snow but I shrugged it off because I hadn’t thought it would be a big deal. There had been some snowfall earlier, but it was more like a slushy rain. Plus, I was still in tropical island fantasy mode, this refrain echoing in my brain, “Put the lime in the coconut, drink them both up!” This is different from my normal litany of, “Yummy yummy yummy, I got love in my tummy!”
But when I walked outside to my car, I realized why Mike had been worried. It had completely snowed over the parking lot. And I am never more a Pacific Islander than when snow appears. Some of my fellow Chamorros love snow and can handle whiteout conditions like they’re Jason Bourne. Whenever it snows, I transform into TOONCES: THE DRIVING CAT.
I called my family on Saipan because my mom, sister and three nieces are the quickest troops to rally. “I’M DRIVING IN THE SNOW!!” I yelled into the speaker. “LIGHT SOME CANDLES NOW!” So my mom said, “Pull over!” I had to explain to her that pulling over wasn’t an option. It was snowing enough to blanket my windshield, but not snowing enough that I would resort to living on the cough drops I had in my purse. Then my sister got on the phone and only wanted to read to me inspirational quotes she found on pininterest: “Mo, have you heard this: ‘Some people come into your life as blessings, others come into your life as lessons’?”
“Why, no I haven’t seen that inspirational quote and I’m rather upset as that will be last thing I hear BEFORE I DIE IN THIS SNOW!”
They all kept me company as I white-knuckled it home, both hands on the steering wheel, their voices coming out of my phone’s speaker. I drove slowly in my no-wheel drive and followed the cleared wheel tracks of the cars in front of me. My mom lit all the candles she had for St. Anthony, the patron saint of lost things (there are no saints for Chamorros driving in the snow. I checked). My sister had more quotes she shared like they were canon and my niece Brianna told me that I didn’t need to pack any clothes, I could borrow her Justin Bieber shirts and of course there’s always my mom’s selection of elastic waistband capri pants, like she knew I would love to showcase my stomach.
It took me twenty minutes longer to make the drive and the ladies all cheered when I said I had finally parked.
So all this to say, “Mona, you got home safely because you drove slowly in the snow?” Yes, but it played very differently in my head. Plus, I had an audience.