Thursday, January 27, 2011

Of Plans Gone Astray....

Sometimes plans go awry. Yesterday, I had hoped to saunter in the door from work around the usual 7:00, eat a great dinner, do some reading, and maybe whip out a blog post. But those plans changed.

Yesterday a blizzard descended on the city, just hours before the usual traffic rush. Offices let out early in an attempt to help employees get home before the heavy snow hit. But to no avail. The heaviest snow fell between 5:00 and 8:00, when every driver in the metro area seemed to be on the road.

In summary, I spent the hours between 4:30 PM and 12:30 AM with thousands of other cars, slowly making my way home (a mere 12 miles away). So I had plenty of time to think. And ponder. And sigh. And gaze at the clock. And change the radio station.

And I feel like I learned some things.

I learned a lot about perspective. Driving 30 mph on a 50-mph-highway in everyday traffic might seem frustrating, but when one is crawling along at 1 mph, 10 mph starts to look pretty desirable. And while a 45-minute commute that stretches into an hour may be irritating, an hour commute looked like a dream last night at Hour 5.

I learned about patience. Because, for eight long hours, circumstances were firmly beyond my control. I couldn't change the weather or make the traffic move faster or change the road I was on. And I had two choices: I could be panicky, irritated, frustrated, and upset. Or I could just relax, refuse to stress, and accept the inevitable. The former wasn't going to get me home faster. So I worked on doing the latter.

I learned other things too:
  • When the highways and freeways are crawling because of the snow conditions, trying to cut through the backroads of hilly (read: impassable) neighborhoods is not the most effective solution.
  • Conditions like last night bring out the best and worst in people.
  • Chivalry is not dead. Countless men who could have stayed warm inside their homes instead chose to stand out on the roads digging out cars, helping stranded drivers, and directing traffic.
  • It's difficult to gracefully reject the offer of a date from someone who just pushed your car up a hill, but sometimes necessary.
  • Pushing cars up snowy hills is difficult in a skirt and heels, but possible.
When we travel from our door to our office during the winter, sometimes it's easy to ignore the potentially dangerous outdoor conditions. Until sometimes we're faced with the prospect of spending the night on the road. As conditions on the road deteriorated, I was relieved to know that I had the following in my car:
  • A flashlight
  • A car charger for my phone and GPS
  • A full tank of gas
  • Gloves and a coat
However, after last night, there are definitely a couple of things I'm going to add to my car's "winter stockpile":

  • A tow rope
  • Non-perishable food
  • Boots
  • A blanket
What do you keep in your car during the winter in case of an emergency?


Things I am grateful for today:

81. Walking in the door of my house last night at 1:07 AM
82. Relative safety last night amidst major chaos
83. A room-mate who was willing to meet me a mile from our house in the middle of the night in the freezing cold
84. Shovels
85. Four-wheel-drive trucks


    Monica Jacobson said...

    LOL, my goodness... that sounds like an excessively dramatic evening. You should have gone out with the guy. ;-)

    Ah, the benefits of living further south... when it snows, everything shuts down completely.

    Emily said...

    It was quite the adventure! The guy...*sigh*. I might have thought about it more seriously had he not already consumed a few too many beers that evening....;-)

    Good for "further south." This silly city needs to understand it's limitations.