Friday, February 12, 2010

Mush!

Yeah, I know, snow, snow, and more snow. What else is there to talk about? When there's three feet of it and the streets run white with it, why bother talking about anything else, right?

After four days off, the masses headed back to work in D.C. today, across the great white tundra that our fair city has turned into. I don't know about anyone else, but I really would've liked to have had a team of sled dogs to take me to work today. (And speaking of dogs, can we please do something about the yellow snow? Enough already!) But without the dogs at my disposal, I opted first for the bus. Fortunately, the one that runs by my house qualifies as a "snow emergency route," which were the only ones running this morning. I waited for twenty-five minutes, only to have three buses pass me by (one full and not worth stopping, and two out of service). Not to mention, had the bus actually come, I would've had to overcome a mountain of snow tantamount to scaling the Andes in order to get from the bus stop onto the bus, so perhaps it's best I chose another option.

I plugged along on my walk (about a mile and a half), participating in a giant urban obstacle course, to make my way to work. Obstacle #1 was a woman in high heeled boots that were completely inappropriate for the terrain (difficult to get around her on the sidewalk cleared to only single-file width). I managed to slide quickly past her as she tried to figure out how to navigate a puddle of slush. Obstacle #2 was a dogwalker with three dogs, again monopolizing the narrow pathway. I chose to climb off the beaten path and surge past them by hiking up a drift. Obstacle #3 was a mass of tourists clogging the entire sidewalk in front of the Starbuck's on Dupont Circle North. An angry morning grumble about blocking the sidewalk and they parted like the Red Sea. Next up was Obstacle #4, the Circle itself. While the inside of the Circle was clear, the passage to get there through the street was the width of one foot (not 12 inches=one foot, but one foot=the width of one shoe). An awkward sideways shimmy and I was on my way again.

At this point, the walk had gone on for nearly 40 minutes, though in normal conditions it would take less than 15. Perhaps the worst of all was Obstacle #5, a puddle that looked like it was shallow and street level, but that dipped at least eight inches into slushiness. But I plowed on. Obstacles #6, 7, and 8 -- an ice patch, snow pile, and preschoolers on a rope (why did they drag those poor kids out on the city streets in this weather to begin with?) -- and I was at my office. It was exhausting -- I felt like I had worked a full day, all before 10 a.m.

All anyone could talk about at work today was the snow and the wisdom (or lack thereof) of the Feds opening (and by virtue of that fact, our office) today. This was compounded by the fact that streets were barely clear, sidewalks treacherous, and in addition to the expected delays, that a Red Line train derailed to avoid crashing into another train this morning hemming up the works for hours.

And as I made the return trip this evening, watching my fellow bus-ers standing on mounds of snow taller than most of us, waiting for a bus that never seemed to reveal itself, I started to think maybe I really did want a team of sled dogs. But then again, there would probably be whole lot more obstacles for me to dodge with a team of spirited dogs leading my way. So I scaled my obstacles and made my way home, glad that I had two more days off to recover before I have to do it all again.

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