Thursday, December 27, 2012

Plan for blizzards

At some point I need to get back to fiction and fiction related things because that's kind of what the blog has always been about, but this is a sort of real life kind of time when one has to deal with burnt out lightbulbs and giant piles of snow.  Hard to get less fictional than that.

So, blizzards.  They have two defining characteristics: snow, wind.  If an unending supply of snow falls upon you burying your entire house but there's no wind, not a blizzard   If the wind is horrible beyond description but there's no snow, not a blizzard.  You need both.

Now when a meeting was set up for today, neither of us really expected a blizzard.  And thus there was no plan for a blizzard.  


Speaking of, this is the part where I was interrupted by a call from my sister, call was dropped and attempts to get her back have failed but I did hear enough to know that there are, apparently, 27 inches of snow in front of her door.


Back to the narrative.  Here's the problem.  The office I was going to was officially closed at the time of the scheduled meeting.  It was going to be locked, I was going to have to knock on the door to get in.  No problem.  I can knock.

But, blizzard.

So the meeting was, I guess, cancelled.  At least that's how it appears now, but here's the problem: if something is officially closed anyway how do you find out if the thing you're doing there has been called off? All official sources will say it's closed regardless of whether the meeting is on or off because it's officially closed.

I did try to call up, hoping that if he were there he'd hear the ringing and pick up.  But that plan failed because when the office officially closed for the season they turned off the ringer and directed all calls straight to voicemail.

With no, "Hey, how do I find out if the meeting is still on should their be a blizzard," contingency plan the only thing I could really do was go over and check.  I'd say about half an hour into my journey a complete stranger in a pickup truck offered me a ride across the bridge I was about to be crossing and dropped me off within a few minutes of my destination.

He looked, and I say this meaning no offense but instead as an example of not judging people by their appearance (certainly glad I didn't) like central casting sent over generic racist hick.  He works on environmental stuff and so is big into science and by extension math which is one of my fields of study.  His thinking is that you need classics (my other field of study) but you also need to get paid so I should get a job using the math and that will give me the money and leisure necessary to put the study of classics to good use, said use being enjoyment.

He thinks that congress is broken in part because it was set up with the idea of serving one or two terms and then going back to your farm, rather than being a life time plan.

And he thinks that the modern Republican party's entire defining characteristics can be distilled down to, "They don't like having a black guy in office and they want him out.  That's the only thing they care about."

I'm sure there would be more I could say about him, but it was a quick ride and I'll likely never see him again.

Said quick ride shaved an hour off my travel time, which led to a bit of a problem.  The door was supposed to be locked when I got there, but I got there an hour early.  Did no one responding to knocking mean that they weren't showing up at all, or that I was their first meeting of the day and they weren't going to show up until meeting time?

Cue an hour of waiting.

Three cross country skiers went by.

A long while later another two one of them towing what appeared to be a baby carriage on skies.

A long while later a young man and woman speaking what sounded quite Arabic to me but I don't know enough about the Semitic languages to be totally sure.

When they found out the door was locked they went away the way they had come.

I should at some point point out that all of this waiting was not in the wind and the snow.  Outside of the doors was a sheltered area, not an arch, more lintel and jambs (but of concrete) with space to pace that was safe from the wind and snow, but not the cold.  Eventually I gave up on my coatsleeves and was basically hugging myself inside of the coat.

A person and a dog came by.  I heard the dog's name, but have sense forgot about it.  It was female, started with an S, and had multiple syllables.  I thought I'd remember it.

Meeting time came, more knocking, no response.  I'd already decided to give him fifteen minutes in case I was the first meeting and he was running late.  About ten minutes into that I concluded that it was good I hadn't decided to give him longer because the pacing wasn't keeping my temperature up enough , I had started to shiver, teeth chattering, that sort of thing.

When the fifteen minutes came and went,  more knocking, more lack of response I headed home.

I propose a new measure of civilization, only applies to places far enough north or south (or above sea level) to have snow. If the sidewalks are not cleared it's not a civilization.  Because the long walk home didn't feel like I was in civilization.  It felt like I was in a frozen wasteland where the only sure footing was in the tracks of great metal beasts, but if I stood in those tracks I had to constantly keep an eye out to make sure there were none coming lest I be run down by one of them.

At one point, where the sidewalk was separated from the street, I had to decide if I could jump the separator in time should a car come, because taking the sidewalk itself would basically be tantamount to crawling through the snow.  The fact that that was very near the place where I fell into an open manhole one year because the snow had covered over any indication that there was a manhole in the sidewalk, open or otherwise, probably contributed to me not wanting to take the wild untouched sidewalk.

Anyway, this whole ordeal could have been skipped if either of us, two or three weeks ago when we scheduled the appointment, had thought to ask, "Ok, but what if there's a blizzard?"


  1. Mobile phones are great. (When they work, when everyone has one, when they check messages.)

  2. If one of us had considered the possibility that the meeting would have to be canceled due to weather I think it likely I would have gotten his person phone number, but as it was I just had the office number.

    Normally I don't need to contact him at all because the office is supposed to be officially open, so if it were officially closed that's a sign the meeting has been canceled.