Last night, I told the husband, “Whoa, work is closed AGAIN tomorrow!” marveling at the effects the recent fubar weather conditions had had on the city in general. As a result, we’ve been in the house mostly non-stop since Friday.
A few hours later, he said, “So, do you have work tomorrow?”
I thought for a minute that maybe I was in Mulholland Drive.
“No, I already told you I didn’t.”
“Oh. That was today?”
I knew what he meant. What day was it? How long had we been here? Where was everyone? Perhaps the news reports were all pre-recorded to dull panic and the Snowpocalypse had actually been the Apocalypse. And everyone important was sealed in a bunker somewhere. And the real panic wouldn’t set in until we realized that there were no more french fries anywhere. French fries could be extinct right now and we wouldn’t even KNOW.
These past few (I’m not going to attempt a guess at the precise number) days have been pretty wild. I don’t remember much about the last time that we had really significant snowfall like this, which was back in 1993. I only remember that it hit on a Saturday and my mom and I drove into town anyway for my ballet class. There were about 6 other people there total, when normally there would have been a few hundred cycling in and out throughout the day. We couldn’t generate enough body heat to make the cavernous ballet studio not tortuously cold so we all went home, which my mom tells me was a harrowing drive.
This morning, I looked outside and had to laugh. It’s like we’re living in some CGI movie. And everyone seems to be acting correspondingly daffy.
For instance, a woman parked in front of our house Friday night. Saturday morning she came by and tried to dig it out but just couldn’t and I told her it was fine to leave it there until she could come get it because our car was still stuck at my mother-in-law’s house and it would be a day or so until we could park our car there.
At some point on Sunday, she came and got her car but put a chair in the space. In front of our house.
This seemingly innocuous act made our heads explode. If you’re not familiar with the Pittsburgh Parking Chair, I direct your attention to this timely article in the Post-Gazette.
Technically, she did dig out the spot and under a more liberal jurisdiction she would have claim to the space. BUT she KNEW it was not her space to have because we talked about it and we permitted her to leave her car there. If I had known she was just a space pilferer, I never would have agreed. I would never move a parking chair, because I am not a jerk, so she had essentially check-mated me into giving her our space.
This snow is turning people into lawless savages. Today it’s the parking space. Tomorrow she’ll probably try to eat my brains.
There have been other signs that people are collectively losing their shit. Yesterday a woman knocked on the door and we had the most bizarre conversation. She asked which car was mine and I pointed to ours, which was resting in our horrendously angled driveway that the husband had to shovel out because SOMEONE had taken the space in front of our house. (Getting the car to the house was a whole separate ordeal that took several hours and resulted in two flat tires and a close brush with frostbite. I don’t want to talk about it.) After we established which car was ours, the woman proceeded to pepper me with non sequiturs to the point where I was questioning the sanity of both of us.
“Did you see the woman?”
“With plastic bags?”
Under the best of circumstances, I have a sinking feeling that life is but a slowly unfolding zombie movie. When you throw in three feet of snow, it doesn’t do much to comfort me.
It’s also been really disheartening to listen to everyone whine about the effects the storm has had on city operations. I just don’t understand the outrage. I am not the biggest supporter of Luke Ravenstahl’s administration, but I don’t see the city’s response as “dropping the ball.” These are not normal conditions. These are quite exceptional conditions and would bring even the wealthiest cities to their knees. Under normal circumstances, I think the city’s response and road clearance rates are pretty decent. But there’s an ENORMOUS amount of snow out there. Just figuring out where to put it must be a logistical nightmare.
The public transit system has a Twitter account that has been absolutely amazing keeping riders informed of route changes and delays and as far as I can tell has responded to everyone that has thrown a question at it. Not only that, the people running the Twitter account have been extremely courteous to abuse thrown their way. I understand that it sucks standing outside in the cold, waiting for a bus, and then being stuck on that bus for hours, but please. Look around. Road conditions worsen faster than they can be improved and everyone’s impatience to get back to normal doesn’t help. Is it really any wonder that navigating buses through that is a losing proposition?
The only way through this is with cooperation. If you can stay inside, do so. If you’re an employer, don’t pressure your employees to risk everyone’s safety by making their way into work. If you have to go out, assume that everyone is doing everything that they can to keep you safe and to keep life functioning as normally as possible and respond accordingly. Don’t bitch.
Although, all of that hot air might make the snow melt faster…
It’s just disheartening to see people not sucking it up. For every Good Samaritan tale of people helping each other out or forging their way to work so that we can buy milk and bread, there is a huge chorus of whining that makes it not seem worth it. I would hate to think that we would need to experience a REAL disaster to gain some perspective.