I’ve been meaning to wax poetic about Seattle’s epic 4 days of winter last week (yes, that’s right – winter lasts four whole days here) but am just finally getting the photos off my camera. Not that they’re anything to curl up by the fire with, but week-old news is at least slightly more interesting when there’s visual aids.
These are all from Monday night, the 27th, on my way home from work. It took me about 2 hours to travel the 11 miles from downtown, but I overheard people in my local grocery the next day claiming 5-6 hour commutes that fateful night. Granted, these may be the same people that caught a fish “this big” and are close “like this” with important Hollywood celebrities.
The whole thing was like a Bruce Willis movie, and I found it rather exciting and fun exercising some cunning and survival instincts and testing my knowledge of north Seattle’s backroads, all while “cut off from society” because the cell networks were too busy to be useful. I’m not sure many of my fellow travelers regarded the adventure with such enthusiasm, but (as Danielle and I keep reminding each other) what we regard with our Montana threshold for winter as the first decent snow of the season and a visible sign of the upcoming holidays must be for Seattlites who have never experienced it one of the seven signs of the apocalypse. The number of people who refused to leave their homes until the storm passed, who abandoned their cars on the freeway and didn’t return for them for days, and who bundled up their children and escorted them outside to snap pictures touching real, non-mall-Santa snow work to justify my exaggeration.
I gave up on that mess at the first opportunity, putting my 4WD to work climbing into and out of a grassy median to the (relative) sanity of surface roads. Offramps were moving, but not much faster, so I still had plenty of time to look around, marvel at the ridiculousness of it all, and attempt artsy shots in between swaths of the wipers:
Highway 99 was working in my favor for a little while, until articulated city buses started repeatedly appearing in the ditch. In the first shot, notice how the rear tires are sliding as the driver guns the engine. This turned out to be not a great strategy (surprise!) as the rear end jack-knifed around a lightpole:
The news said 150 city bus drivers walked away their buses Monday, but local tv newscasters are *definitely* the kind of people that catch a fish “this big” so I’m assuming that number is more like 14.
I abandoned major thoroughfares at some point and turned down a side street I knew went all the way through; reference my knowledge of Seattle streets, as indicated above, which I feel confident in saying is above average even for lifetime residents. I guess I read maps, and I pay attention. Also, I drive around a lot. Anyway, tonight this shortcut was short-circuited by a FedEx-type truck sliding sideways down a narrow hill lined with parked cars. No place I wanted to be, thank you!
I don’t have any pictures after this, because this is when I got serious. 🙂 This was the last ten minutes of any good action movie, where the stuntmen take over and the bulk of the special effects budget is spent. There were shortcuts through shipping yards. There were parking-lot 4-wheel drifts. Curbs were scaled. Used-car lots were used as passageways. Hapless, dry-weather-optimized vehicles and their confused drivers were outmaneuvered. Ice, snow, slush, sleet – all were taunted for their ineffective attempt at keeping me from dinner.
In the end I rather enjoyed it, much like I imagine Chuck Norris enjoys standing victorious over a roomful of incapacitated masked assassins. Nevertheless, I opted to work from home Tuesday. After all, the sequel is never as good as the first one.