This if my second snow day in a week, giving me a now four-day weekend. If that sentence makes you green or just slightly flushed-pink with envy, calm down. You’re probably imagining hot cocoa around a warm fire, snuggling in coordinated ski lodge-wear, reading Russian novels and laughing with friends. But real life, it turns out, is not an Old Navy commercial. Mostly this snowpocalypse so far has meant me taking dumb pictures of my cat in hair accessories and live-tweeting the Olympics after every other time zone in America has tired of bobslope figure-twizzling.
Why? Because Oregon doesn’t have the infrastructure to handle snow and the roads are awful and we’re all inept at winter here. Thursday near Albany, there was a 50-car wreck. Friday in Portland, my roommates got stranded on a residential street. Yesterday in Salem, there was an 8-hour delay on the interstate. While you readers in sunnier climes were typing away at the office for an entire shift, many poor bedraggled Oregonians were sitting in their cars hoping to not run out of gas. What are we, Atlanta?
Born and raised an Idahoan, I am theoretically used to the snow. More snow than this sometimes, and definitely more frequently. But in a small town, dealing with such weather meant my dad shoveling the sidewalk, (and volunteering to shovel all our elderly neighbors’ sidewalks, too — what a guy), our family driving a mile or two to church or Costco, maybe me driving to basketball practice. We were used to it, so we managed. But I hated the cold and ice, so I moved to allegedly lukewarm Oregon. And now I have a 60-mile commute and commitments all over the Willamette Valley. And I missed all of them the past four days, because snowpocalypse.
Are you still thinking of charming home videos of snowball fights, fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies being pulled from a toasty-hot oven, and that early 90s holiday commercial where the snowman trudges inside and magically melts into a cheerful little boy after sipping the mystical serum that is Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup? Yeah, it’s still not like that.
See, we’re all stuck. My roommates and I, my neighbors, everyone in Western Oregon. We can’t turn this time off into a party because we’ll end up in a 72-car pileup in the Kmart parking lot, and Kmart’s probably closing six hours early, anyway. (What, you don’t “party” at “Kmart”? Snob.) Yesterday, for instance, we put on our best Super Sexy And Fun Day Off Outfits (sweats and snowboots, with hats of varying levels of absurdity) and drove the two blocks to Starbucks. They were out of white mocha, but hey, still, corporate coffee — whoohoo! Then my roommate wanted Taco Bell so we drove at 12 mph, with a broken chain on the right front tire KA-THUMP KA-THUMP KA-THUMPing the whole way, causing bundled-up pedestrians to turn and stare, but the fast food joint was closed, in the middle of the afternoon, in the middle of the city. Yes, even Taco Bell — truly the very least of all possible pleasures — has been denied us. Oh, and also? There were no church services today. FOR EVEN THE LORD ALMIGHTY HAS BEEN DEFEATED BY THIS MORTAL WEATHER. Somewhere, Nietzsche laughs.
But, okay fine, amid the horrific cabin fever of this very first-world tragedy, there have been some nice things:
- All of my roommates home at the same time.
- “Sledding” down the Target parking lot flower beds on a baking sheet.
- Writing a Santa’s bag-full of letters and Valentine’s cards. Hopefully everyone likes fluorescent pink.
- PLUSHENKO. (What, I have a thing for blond-mulleted, bedazzled Soviets who are fourth-time Olympians. Everyone has a type.)
- Reading. Though no Russian novels. Though I have been meaning to get back to Dostoevsky for a while now…
- As good an excuse as any to rewatch Battlestar Galactica.
- Seeing an unprecedented number of robins flitting around the trees outside my window, hopping from one snowy branch to another. It’s not quite Old-Navy-commercial cool, but it might be dollar-store-Christmas-card cool.
I guess this snowpocalypse could be worse. I haven’t had to sleep in a Home Depot yet or given birth on the side of the road (*cough* Georgia *cough*), so really, we Oregonians are doing okay.