So, when I last wrote here, I was marveling over the vast amounts of snow that had fallen in my city. I enjoyed watching the snowflakes fall heavily from the sky hour after hour, from the comfort of my living room. I thought it was fascinating. I thought it was pretty! That was last weekend.
And now? Now that the work week is in full swing and I have to travel through this stuff? My attitude has changed. Those twenty-some inches of snow are no longer a miracle of nature to me. They are a pain in my arse!
There is so much snow on the ground that we seem to have run out of places to put it. The suburbs aren’t so bad. The suburban cities seem to have managed to plow their streets fairly well. The snow plows have created massive walls of snow along the streets where they pushed it all out of the way. The Target parking lot a couple of blocks over is lined by a wall of snow that is much taller than me. But driving is possible.
The city, though? Where I work? That is another story. I grew up in St. Paul and I had almost forgotten what a pain it is to live in the city when there’s been a major dumping of snow. There are more houses in the city because they are built closer together. Therefore, there are more people and hence, more cars. And when the plows need to come through and those cars need to be moved, there are fewer places to put all of those cars.
Mark drove me to and from work on Monday. Traffic reports were not good and I was more than happy to let him exert his manliness through the power of a four-wheel drive pick-up truck while I sat back and relaxed and prepared to be dropped off at the front door of my building, thereby avoiding exposure to the single digit temperatures.
Apparently this guy was avoiding the cold too while he watched from his second-story window for his bus to come:
At least I’m guessing that’s what he’s doing. Why else would someone have their window open when it’s that cold?
We took the side streets into the city since the freeway looked like one massive parking lot. And let me tell you, the streets of St. Paul were a mess! The plows had come through, but there were a multitude of cars whose owners had not bothered to move them off the streets for the plows, so the plow drivers simply plowed around those cars, leaving mountains of snow in the streets and sometimes only enough room for a single car to pass. And where the plows had managed to come through, they often left piles of snow overflowing at the corners of the intersections. It was like driving through an obstacle course. And many of the sidewalks had not been cleared, so amongst the rush hour traffic, there were also pedestrians walking in the snowy streets.
I’m sure you can imagine then what a mess there was downtown, with fewer open areas in which to push the snow. Turn lanes were full of snow and again, there was the problem of narrow streets due to the amount of snow. Traffic was a tangled mess. Getting in and out was an incredible test of patience.
Come Tuesday, I assured Mark I would get myself to and from work. I couldn’t rely on him to chauffeur me to and from work every day until spring. I left way early, anticipating the need to cushion my drive time. And it was a good thing too. My normal commute of about twenty minutes stretched out to fifty minutes! The St. Paul streets were still a mess and it seems everyone who would normally avoid the freeway was now on it. And for me and my car, there was no avoiding the freeway. My car doesn’t have enough clearance to navigate the amount of snow that still covered the city streets. Normally I sail down the freeway at about 70 miles per hour. Since the snow storm? Stop-and-go with max speeds of about 10!
By today, I thought things might loosen up, traffic-wise. Not so. Road rage was beginning to set in. People seem to lose all common sense when it comes to driving in this stuff! I was trying to leave my parking ramp this evening, and was forced to navigate a street that would have normally accommodated one lane of traffic going each direction, but due to all of the snow as well as cars parked along the curb, there was only room for one car to pass. There was a big pick-up truck in front of me and a bus heading toward us. The driver of the truck moved over slightly, I assumed so that he could let the bus pass. I followed suit. The bus passed, and then a line of cars behind the bus. And then? The stupid driver of the truck put it in park and got out and walked away!!! There were cars lined up behind me and cars coming toward me from the other direction and nowhere for me to go. I was stuck. I watched the driver of the truck walk away and I shouted at him… something I can’t say here. But it was along the lines of “Are you FARGING kidding me???” (Luckily for me, my window was rolled up, so he couldn’t hear me.) I have uttered a similar phrase more often than I care to admit over the course of the last few days. Seriously! I have developed such a potty mouth since the snow storm. It happens mainly when I’m in my car, and I’m mainly alone while in my car, but I have to say that this potty mouth is often shocking even to me! Once I even reprimanded myself out loud because I took the Lord’s name in vain in combination with the “farging” word. I cringed almost as soon as the words left my mouth.
I did eventually get around the stupid truck and onto the freeway, not without risk, mind you! But I did it.
I think what is so frustrating is that the city appears to be doing nothing about the excess of snow overflowing into the streets of downtown. In the suburbs, I’ve seen crews scooping up the mountains of snow, depositing it into dump trucks and hauling it away. I wondered why the city can’t do the same, but heard that the plowing budget is so overextended already that it’s not an option.
I am really not prepared to spend the rest of the winter utilizing all of my spare time trying to get to and from where I need to go! And winter hasn’t even officially begun yet! And they are predicting more snow in the next few days!
I refuse to spend the winter complaining about the snow! I do. So if you don’t hear from me for a while, assume it is snowing in Minnesota again.