January 7th, 2004

Froud - bad faeries

Snow 2004

You youngsters don't know how good you have it. Why, when I was 28, I had to walk five miles through the snow, to get home from work...

No, seriously, I did.

Yesterday it started snowing at about 4 a.m. I woke up to a very pretty dusting of snow. It was supposed to accumulate for a few hours, then turn to rain in the afternoon. I didn't want to attempt driving on it, though, so I took Metro, our trusty (*cough* HA!) Seattle bus service, to work. Walking to the bus stop was pretty easy; there was less than an inch of snow on the ground.

It fell all day. I sat at work looking out the window, at first admiring the prettiness of it, then gradually getting alarmed: the forecast was changing; the rain wouldn't come till the evening, and then it was going to be freezing rain, which is even worse for traffic than snow - especially when it falls on top of snow. Why weren't they sending us home? Didn't they see it was only going to get worse?

They let us out at 3:00. I stood in Denny Park, at the bus stop, for an hour, waiting for my bus. During that time, 2 or 3 should have come and gone for my route, but I didn't see one. I could not feel my hands and toes anymore (it was still snowing, light powdery flakes), so I returned to work. I tried calling a taxi. They were all either out of service or all booked up. Four inches of snow covered the Seattle metropolitan area, more in some places, and pretty much none of the roads had been plowed or sanded. It was packed ice on virtually every street - and before you in the Midwest snicker at us for letting this foil us, remember that in Seattle we have hills, every few blocks, the steepness of which is like nothing you've ever seen in the entire state of Iowa. (You know those famous steep streets in San Francisco? Yeah. They're like that.)

I live five miles from work. I had hiking boots on, and waterproof trousers ("rain pants"). Walking was not impossible. And it was looking like my only option. So I walked. Through four inches of snow, alternating with packed ice, for five miles, down Westlake Avenue, across the Fremont Bridge (where I saw, finally, my bus pass me - I threw a snowball at it), to Fremont where I met up with Steve (who was also walking), and on into Ballard, up that gradual slope. It took an hour and a half. It was quite the workout. In Fremont, incidentally, we saw a bus with my route's number on it, jackknifed and helpless at an intersection. It was still there this morning when I drove in through the slush.

Seattle residents, listen to me: do not, ever ever ever, trust Metro on a snow day. They will, likely as not, screw you over. Oh, and their phone lines are no use whatsoever, either.

In fact, next time it snows like that, I'm just not coming in. If more of us stay home, then it's likelier that more offices will close and call it a day. I was just contributing to operating quorum by my stupid hardworking action of coming to work yesterday. I won't make THAT mistake again.

Will be more than happy to see our 50-degree steady rain again. Jeez.