Monday, January 28, 2008

snow day

I was greeted this morning by a thin layer of semi-frozen slush on my windshield. It was a little inconvenient because I haven't broken down and invested in an ice scraper yet, but after about 5 minutes warming up the car the defrost cleared the windshield and I was on my way to work. The Portland area generally has a handful of days where we encounter winter-ish precipitation, and in most cases the small mess melts or dissipated in 24 hours. So this morning I didn't really notice anything unusual, maybe a little accumulation of wet slush to cover front yards and dormant vehicles. The roads were clear and it the air didn't feel as cold and dry as it had been--even though the sun was out last week the temp averaged in the mid-20's, everything was frozen. It didn't seem that cold today, I didn't feel I needed my scarf as I began my day.

After I get to work, I quickly scan the local news and find out that several schools in the area either have a 2-hour delay or are closed completely for a "snow day." I didn't see which communities had the delays and snow days; of course if the part of town has more altitude then the valley floor I understand if the weather's different. But I really think that some of the Portland area schools that had snow days could have opened. Nobody had to plow anything for Chrissake! I think they threw some deicer out on some treacherously curved roads and the interstate. I made it to work on time and I even stopped at the coffee shop on the way. I think all the school closures are just silly. The news spends all morning giving special coverage, blow by blow descriptions by live and on-the-scene reporters. "Hi I'm Suzy Smith in front of Franklin Elementary which has closed due to the dangerous weather out here..." meanwhile the property Suzy is standing in front of has barely any white patches of snow on it. I don't know why people freak out around here, especially with them all being so close to Mt. Hood and everyone so into skiing and snowboarding. Every other Subaru driving around has a snowboard box on the roof rack.

A significant amount of snow fell here in 2003. It wasn't too bad, but they don't plow right away around here and it causes a bigger mess. When they do plow, they only plow main streets, no residential streets. The main streets aren't plowed well because they had spent two days becoming a packed frozen block. I had the opportunity to watch a bus collide with the traffic light pole at the end of my block. It was kind of funny and it happened in slow motion. The bus driver got off the bus, lit up a cigarette, and I asked him if he was okay. "Yes, " he replied, puffing on his smoke, "and right now ends my shift today." I asked if he needed to call anyone and he said no, he had called and was waiting for another bus to come pick up the passengers (who were still all on the bus). I said goodbye and went on my way.

When I was a young lass going to school in the Northeast, I don't remember many snow days. I think once when I was in kindergarten the winter of '78 we stayed home a day. But I distinctly remember my father shoveling all day long. I remember the car was buried. I think when I was in 3rd grade we also had a snow day.

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