Monday, March 20, 2006

And yet I don't just move back to California

Weather or commute…weather or commute…..I’ll go with a weather post today. Or maybe...both.

Today is the vernal equinox. A couple of weeks ago we started having some very spring-like weather. Last Monday, highs were in the 80s. Today the high was around 50 degrees. Tomorrow? Tomorrow it is supposed to snow—snow, which will turn into “wintry mix.” The first time after moving to DC that I saw wintry mix in the forecast, I asked a friend from Michigan what exactly that meant.

“Nothin’ good,” he told me. And then he went outside in a t-shirt to smoke a cigarette, because it may have been cold, but it wasn’t as bad as Michigan.

I have very clear memories of classes being held outside on the lawn at UC Santa Cruz in February. So I don’t cope well with icy weather in March. It just feels wrong. And I fear the wintry mix tomorrow, because last year we had wintry mix in March, and it just didn’t go well.

I woke up at a reasonable hour and got ready for work, but I missed my regular bus because I couldn’t find my umbrella or keys. When I finally got my act together and went outside to wait for the next bus, the bus that came sped by me without stopping. I chased it for a few steps, hoping that someone on the bus would see me and tell the driver to stop, but I was too afraid of slipping to be willing to chase very far. I went back into the house to wait awhile for the next bus, since standing outside in the icy rain wasn’t proving very pleasant.

The next bus stopped to let me on, and when I arrived at the Pentagon station, a blue line train was just arriving. It was fairly full, and with several people standing in the doorways, I wasn’t able to push my way on. I waited for the next train, which ended up being good: the train was empty enough that I got a seat, and for an added bonus, the conductor sounded just like Sean Connery.

As I came up the escalator at Foggy Bottom, I was pelted with more icy rain mixed with snow. Wintry mix, indeed. I opened my umbrella, but as I turned onto Washington Circle, the wind snapped two of the spokes of the umbrella, rendering it pretty useless. I told myself that with wind like that the umbrella wouldn’t have done much good anyhow, and dropped it into a trash can I passed. I took a hat out of my backpack, thinking that would keep at least my head warm and dry. Which I’m sure it would have if I hadn’t promptly dropped in into an icy puddle. I picked it up and shook it off, debating whether I ought to try to wear it anyhow. Deciding against it, I hurried toward the bus stop.

I waited and Pennsylvania and 24th for the light to turn. As cars rushed by me in one direction, three buses stopped across the street and pulled away in the other. I thought as many swear words as I could as the light finally changed and I proceeded across the street to wait for the next bus(es).

I shivered at the bus stop. Finding camaraderie in the chilly day, my fellow bus riders and I grumbled about how the buses were supposed to be ten minutes apart, but they came thirty minutes apart in packs of threes. We waited there, with me getting wetter and chillier as the rain continued, and I began to feel less affectionate toward the other people waiting as they began to comment on my lack of umbrella and hat.

“Boy, you look cold.”

“Shouldn’t you be wearing a hat?”

“Forgot your umbrella today, eh?”

Bastards, I thought, and politely explained my predicament. A man about my age offered to share his umbrella with me. Actually, he offered me his hat, too, but that seemed weird, and I only took him up on the umbrella offer until the next pack of buses showed up.

When I arrived at the office I dropped my things at my desk and went to put my lunch in the refrigerator. There were several women in the kitchen, making their coffee and tea and talking.

“Have you been outside?” one asked. “Or did you just wash your hair?”

I explained about my wait for the bus and went back to my desk, leaving them laughing in the kitchen. A co-worker stopped by my cube asked me if I wanted to run to Starbucks with her. I declared that I was not going outside ever again, and gave her money to get me a peppermint hot chocolate.

Someone apparently mentioned it to The Boss (no, not Bruce Springsteen; my boss), because he stopped by when he got in, just as I was recounting the tale of my morning to a friend in an email with the subject “Today sucks. A lot.” I told The Boss that it was a damn miracle (or a sign of my stupidity) that I didn’t turn around and go home after I dropped my hat in the puddle, or even after I saw those three buses passing me by on Pennsylvania. I could have gone home, curled up under the nice, warm covers, and tried again the next day. Or perhaps the next month. It’s never snowed on me here in April (Am so knocking on wood, here). He agreed that I showed remarkable dedication to my job, even when faced with evil wintry mix. But he didn’t offer me a raise or a cookie.

So wish me luck tomorrow, would you? And cross your fingers that this doesn’t kill off the cherry blossoms before they even get to bloom.

1 comment:

Lauren said...

And a happy first day of spring to you too. We spent the weekend at the cabin and there was snow. But I'm sure it wasn't a Wintry Mix. But we went saucering until the snow turned into ice and I impaled myself with a tree.