Monday, November 22, 2010

Holy snow!

It has been snowing since last night in Seattle. We aren't talking snow flurries, people. We're talking knock-em-dead howling winds that whip across the roofs and penetrate every microscopic opening in the foundation, and tiny snowflakes that mean business. It's 25 degrees and dropping. I can't remember a November storm like this.

This morning I got suited up and made my way the mile to work on foot. I snapped this picture along the way, the perfect blend of one of the best falls I can remember with the start of winter:

Here's the view from my apartment this morning and again when I got home. Probably another 2 inches have fallen since the second one, and I would guess we have 4-6 inches by now.

My office emptied out around 2, and there had been so little movement that by the time I left at 6 the lights had turned off. (Not trying to tout myself as an overachiever, I just had something I had to finish. Trust me, I wanted to leave at 2 too.) My walk home was 30 minutes of zero-visibility skidding, but I still made way better time than the poor bastards stuck in cars or on buses. With a vehicle stalled or skidding out on every single road, traffic was stopped in all directions. It took people two hours to go two miles. Some gave up, abandoned their cars, and walked. Luckily all Metro buses had chains on their back tires starting this morning; apparently someone got the right idea after the 2008 debacle. I was scoffing at the alarmists who required Metro chains in the seeming calm of the morning, but by the afternoon I was applauding their good foresight.

A jet slid off the runway at Seatac, closing the airport down. The Alaskan Way viaduct and the West Seattle bridge are closed - two events I can't remember ever happening in my life. Most schools are already closed tomorrow. Thousands of people are without power, and I'm shocked I'm not one of them. Instead, I'm snug as a bug in my cozy apartment - heat is included in the rent! From my perch atop the 3rd floor I have been listening to the strange noises my radiators make while dreamily staring out the window at the mean weather, but I have to admit, I'm lonely.

This is the first time I have ever been alone when it snowed. Part of me wants to run outside and throw snowballs and drop to the ground and make a snow angel, but it feels a bit silly to do that on my own, even on Capitol hill where I'm sure I could find a bevy of insta-friends to do it with. Well, maybe not tonight... it's UGLY out there. But tomorrow they're predicting sun and 26 degree weather - a perfect snow day! (Until it all turns to ice.) Unfortunately I can walk to work, which means that's probably where I'll end up unless HR sends out the unlikely announcement that the office is closed. Cross your fingers for me and my snow day!

(Snow art on my way home. I couldn't resist!)


Not 20 minutes after I hit "publish" on this blog, my friend Brian sent me this text: "There is a party at Bellevue and Denny! Bring a cookie sheet or other improvized sled!"

I live 2 blocks from this intersection and had been hearing semi-strange rumblings from that general area. Luckily I was still mostly decked out in my snow gear so I got suited up the rest of the way and headed out at 12:30 am to catch the party. This is what awaited me:

About 30 people milling around with new additions constantly arriving, going like gangbusters down Denny on makeshift sleds. This included rubber lids, plywood planks, air mattresses, wheel-less skateboards, an ironing board (epic fail), and most notably, garbage dumpsters. They were by far the fastest and most reliable way to get to the bottom, and by the time I left they had started racing. I shot a few videos and uploaded this one last night; my apologies for the weird format.

Predictably, someone had gotten hurt and when I arrived there was an ambulance taking him away. The rumor mill said he broke both his legs but who knows what actually happened. A little later a too-drunk dude with a bloody nose and mouth tried to start a fight about 10 seconds after I said, that guy is drunk and looking to fight. But neither of those events affected the general merriment much, and I was shocked when I realized I'd been there for an hour.

I did take a few nips of whiskey but did not go down the hill. Apparently this is always where people gather on Capitol hill in the snow since Denny gets shut down at the mere whiff of inclement weather, and now that I know sledding central is the perfect distance from my house - close enough to walk easily but far enough away that the hooting and hollering doesn't keep me awake - I have plenty of time to try it out.

Today I did come into the office because HR only issued a "stay home if you can't safely commute" email. There are, I think, 6 people in all, 3 of them from my 5-person team. Now that's dedication!


Daruma-san said...

Nathan and I ended up getting on someone else's sled in Ballard. It was exhilerating and we totally ran into a parked car.

AmberAnda said...

Wow, sounds like an epic snow situation in Seattle this week! It's a bummer how it always makes transportation so difficult, but I'm happy to hear that you and others are making the most of it. One of the best nights I ever had in my 6 years living in Bellingham was a late-night snow party. The steep streets were shut down and people were also sledding on everything from shower curtains to cutting boards. I found that the big black 'lawn & leaf' garbage bags worked the best for me : ) It's like time stands still and social barriers are broken down as every one unites over frolicking in the snow.