Saturday, December 10, 2005

White Whammy

Friday we were hit with a fast-moving snow storm. Although we only got about six inches in those communities closest to the ocean, it was a fierce storm. We awoke to one inch of loose dry powder on the ground. The forecast called for anything from four to twelve inches of cover by late afternoon. I was able to get out to work on time. With a little luck, by the time of the evening traffic, I would have an easy drive home.

It was looking good when I left my first client. The snow had turned to rain, the Meteorologist had predicted that would happen. By the time I left the house of the second client the rain had stopped. The sky looked ominous, but there was no precipitation. Before continuing my schedule, I was able to take care of a little personal business. After stopping at the ATM machine, picking up a few things at the supermarket, and grabbing a steak and cheese sub, I was on my way to the next client.

As luck would have it, the standing water on the snow began to freeze. I was fortunate that the several cars that spun out of control were in my rear view mirror and not ahead of me. I find that the biggest hazard to driving on icy streets isn't the other vehicles, but the pedestrians who insist on walking in the street with approaching traffic at their backs. If it were me, I'd want to walking on the other side of the street. I'd prefer to have an out of control car in my sight. I guess some people have a death wish or are just plain stupid. They might as well be like that penguin about to incur the wrath of a sleeping polar bear.

Arriving on the parking lot of the home of my third client, I was startled by a sudden flash of light. At the same moment I looked skyward there was a loud thunderclap. By the time I reached the door to the main lobby of the building, light snow was beginning to fall. This job was two back to back hour and a half cleaning jobs for a very nice elderly couple. They live on the seventh floor of one of four buildings each containg thirty-six condos. As I was doing my thing, I was able to keep an eye on the weather conditions through a sliding door to an outside landing.

Mrs. P. brought to my attention a rather large black blot on my shirt. My pen had been leaking in my shirt pocket. There on the corner of the pocket was a golf ball-sized stain. I wasn't too concerned about the shirt, after all it was a work shirt, but I was curious to see if it bled through to my undershirt. It did. The ink didn't rest on its laurels there either, for it bled through the shirt and onto the flesh beneath. Although I protested at first, Mr. and Mrs. P. insisted that I remove the shirts. While Mrs. P. scrubbed the ink spots and soaked the shirt in a tub of water, her husband produced a shirt from his wardrobe for me to put on.

I am not and have never been known as a fashion plate, but that shirt would never be featured in Gentleman's Quarterly. It was white, plastered with an array of brown and green banjos and accordians surrounded by black music note symbols. I swear, before and henceforth, yesterday was the first and only time I will be seen in a Polka shirt. Roll Out The Barrels began banging around inside my skull. I continued my duties occupied with the nightmarish vision of being on a "Lawrence Welk Show." It was surely a Geritol moment.

The sight before my eyes as I glanced at the sliding door across the room, quickly dissipated the champagne music. The snow was blowing sideways, and though I was indoors, a sudden chill came over me. In only moments, the wind driven snow was gone, replaced with a veil of white. The adjacent buildings, less than twenty-five yards apart disappeared. It was a classic white out. I picked up my pace, the sooner I finished cleaning their apartment, the sooner I could get myself to the cover of my own home. I am always glad to get home on Friday, but this Friday was urgent.

By the time I had left the building, the white out conditions had abated, but the result of the blowing snow had created drifts three to four feet high against the buildings and the vehicles parked in the lots. I was not amused by the curious artistry or the cruel condition Mother Nature in collaboration with Old Man Winter had treated my truck. Exactly half of it was buried in a huge drift. The driver's side was uncovered from the bumper to the tail gate, while the other half was encased a white coat. My practice of carrying a snow shovel in my truck on days snow was predicted had not been exercised yesterday. Suddenly, "TGIF" meant This Guy Is F**ked!

The only thing in my favor was that the snow was an airy light powder. With my snow brush and bare hands I was able to clear much of the snow from my vehicle in about a half hour. All the while gusts of wind and snow borne upon it showed no mercy. I was tired. I was cold. I was agitated. I was freezing! If that weren't enough, I still had the task of driving home. Something told me that those three miles from that parking lot to my driveway wasn't going to be an easy commute.

Needless to say, I was correct in my assessment of the drive home. It took an hour and a half. The streets were in awful condition, what with the ice hidden by the freshest of the snow and the slow procession of vehicles, their drivers wanting only the same as me, but to get home safely. I had to avoid the side streets, several of which were obvious shortcuts to my destination. What plowing had been done, had been concentrated on the main thoroughfares. Lesser trafficked streets had to beat down by the few adventurous souls who dared to take them.

I did get stuck finally, unable to free my truck from a virgin drift of snow. It was in my own driveway that I had to abandon my ride. What better place to get stuck in snow, but in one's driveway a mere ten feet from one's front door! As I trudged through the drift, I looked upon the desolation of a glacial field that had been as early as that morning, a driveway. There was a lot of shoveling in store for me, but this was Friday and it was five PM. Tomorrow was another day. Inside, there was a cup of hot coffee with my name on it.

(P.S. By the way, I was able to change back into my work shirt, washed and dried. At least I didn't have to explain a Polka shirt when I got home.)



gary j. introne said...

Hey Hale. Cool to run into you again. Nice posts. Drop a note.
Gary Introne

kenju said...

I am so glad it is you having snow - and not me!! I hate the stuff.

jules said...

There was virgin snow in front of YOUR house???? Kinda an oxymoron, huh????