Tuesday, February 13, 2007

it's precipitation! in frozen form! run for your lives!!

i'd heard the whispers, the allegations. i knew that as a native new englander who had spent the last two winters in chicago, it would take some getting used to. but it wasn't until today that it really sunk in: when it comes to weather, DC is crazy. in the end i am ok with this, as it resulted in me getting home from work two hours early today, but still - totally crazy.

by late yesterday afternoon, DCist had already dubbed the mounting hysteria over the incoming storm front "snowpocaylpse," and everyone was making wagers, predictions, and assorted other hand-wringing observations about whether the federal government would be closed today. (this is relevant to many a nonprofit in DC, as most of us base our closings on the federal government's decrees.) i had seen the forecasts, and thought that while it looked moderately rough, i refrained from judgment on whether i'd be having a snowday or not.

turns out, i did not; in fact, there was nary a snowflake in sight when BoyCat and i got up this morning. but the storm did make its way into DC, and after the snow of the morning turned into freezing rain around lunchtime, the rumors and chatter and handicapping started up anew. then, at around 1:15, i heard the feds were closing at 2:00. i tried to open up the government's status website to verify this, and got an endlessly turning timer - the damn thing was crashing.


our HR department set us free at 2:00, and by 2:30 BoyCat and i were leaving our respective offices and planning to meet at the metro station near the apartment to catch a cab (the shuttle bus, which usually takes us to and fro from the metro to the apartment complex didn't start running until 4:45). i trudged the five blocks to the metro station downtown, and was greeted with a backup five people across and easily - easily - 30 people long. this was the line just to get through the turnstile and down to the platform.

20 minutes later, i had finally made it down to the platform. there was a blue line train arriving in five minutes, but it was only four cars long, and i thought i didn't have a snowball's chance of getting on it (which i was really pissed about, because the next two listed trains were orange lines, and about 7 and 16 minutes away respectively). however, the cosmos smiled upon me and i squeezed onto the blue line. fantastic! mission accomplished, right?

well, after the delightful half hour ride out on the blue line, all the while inhaling the delectable perfume of wet people in wool coats, i arrived at my destination. i met BoyCat at the farecard machines, and we trekked out to the parking lot to get a cab.

there were no cabs. there were seven people standing in line, in the freezing rain, waiting for a cab to show up! but no cabs to be seen.

so we looked at each other and said "fuck it, we're walking."

we put up our umbrellas and proceeded to walk the mile and a half from the train station to our apartment in the windy, freezing rain. by the time i got inside, i couldn't feel my jaw or my thighs. it took me about 20 minutes under my down comforter to feel like i wasn't actually radiating coldness.

the point of this story? DC sucks when it comes to dealing with weather. even with all the freaking out and the prognosticating and the fixating, you couldn't make sure public transit wasn't running on massive back-ups?? or that taxis were, you know, running at all??

all i'm saying is i better get a snowday out of this tomorrow. but somehow, i feel like DC will think that's too much to ask. being hugely inconvenienced by the weather? sure. catching a break because of it? nah.

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