Thursday, January 11, 2007

Buddha bubble bath

Taken on my deck, this afternoon.

Note that that's only about an inch of snow; Buddha's maybe five inches tall and sitting in a terracotta pot. Yes, all the plants were well and truly dead before this.

So we are experiencing a second Arctic BLAST!! of the season, with varying amounts of snow whipping the local news media into a froth. Get Jim Foreman into his parka and hip-waders and send him out into the polar conditions, man! Go! People from places that have actual winters like to laugh at us in Seattle...but the terrain is hilly and almost no one has chains or snow tires, and the snow days are infrequent enough that we don't have a lick of sense, or any snow-driving experience to speak of, either. Pretty much the only emergency-preparedness response we're really good at is panicking. This led to a complete, hysterical exodus from NerdCo premises yesterday afternoon, when heavy hail-like snow pellets began pouring out of the sky at 4:00.

My office is about six blocks from the highway; it took me at least 45 minutes to get to the on-ramp. This included an interval where my windshield wipers either froze to the glass or became so overburdened that they gave up, and I had to get out of my car and claw them free by hand. Naturally the people behind me immediately began trying to creep around my car on the ice-packed gentle slope, despite my frantic hand gestures to please not slide and kill me, this would take 30 seconds, we've already sat through 11 cycles of this light for fuck's sake, just WAIT ALREADY. Sigh.

Confidential to you in the Jeep: the best way to regain traction is not necessarily to floor it. Neither is it to floor it and floor it and floor it and floor it and FLOOR IT, standing on the accelerator with both feet until it pops through the bottom of your vehicle. I wonder if you ever got home last night, or simply burned down through the ice and have now reached the Earth's molten core.

It took me 2.5 hours to get home, a distance of about 15 miles. I left at the right point, however; later the frenzy grew until there was an hour's wait, just to get out of the many NerdCo underground garages. Facilities personnel had to go around urging people not to just idle and idle woozily away down there. That would have looked great in the media, no? "Mass Suicides at NerdCo; Will this Impact Hugely Hyped New Product Release?" Film at eleven!

So I'm working from home today, and took the noon hour to walk up to Greenwood again for a mocha, and one of those styrofoam insulating boobies for my outdoor spigot, a vast improvement over my Grandma-esque arrangement of torn-up dishtowels and a plastic bag. A sign on the door of the hardware store read "Sorry, no salt or sand!" This might have been because the city, listening to the local weatherfolk, had dumped what is probably their entire supply on the highways the day before the snow arrived; driving to work yesterday morning was like tooling through Baghdad, my car scoured with a steady flow of hissing grit. At any rate, the huge box of foam doodads was directly inside the doors. I strolled home with one absently hooked over my left hand, and I'll be damned: they totally work. That hand was much warmer when I arrived home.

1 comment:

mike said...

>I left at the right point, however; later the frenzy grew until there was an hour's wait, just to get out of the many NerdCo underground garages.

Or since waiting in the garage for an hour would "of" raised my blood pressure to the point where it was spraying out my nose, I just waited it out till about 8:00. By then, the halls and parking lots of MS were empty. It was a, um, challenge to get to the freeway, but an intimate knowledge of Bellevue side streets was helpful, and I was home in an hour. So you can leave before the panic or after it; just don't leave when everyone else is doing the same.

After that, tho, stay home.