Sunday, December 21, 2008
The Blizzard of Aught-Eight

So yeah, apparently we're having one of the worst snow storms in recent memory here in Portland. It's not too bad. We have, I'm guessing four inches of snow on the ground -- it's been snowing for most of the last week, but this is the first time we've gotten any real accumulation. Mostly it's just been a half-inch at a time of heavy wet slush that melts off the next morning. Tomorrow may be a different story; it's already starting to turn into freezing rain out there, and the temperatures tomorrow are supposed to hover right around freezing all day and into Monday. So things might turn properly nasty by morning. But for me, the worst-case scenario is that I get an extra day off work. Here's hoping.

And it's not like I can't handle a bit of snow and ice. I see a lot of people who are woefully unprepared, walking around in sneakers and hoodies in a horizontal snowfall. The other thing I keep noticing is the reliance on chains for cars. It's interesting how different regions deal with this problem -- in Vermont, which gets craploads of snow every year without fail, people generally just rely on knobby snow tires. In Anchorage, which gets considerably less snow, absolutely everyone had studs. Here, the standard seems to be tire chains, even on the highways, even in the upper elevations where snowfall in the winter is normal. There seems to be an inverse relationship between the typical assumed volume of snow and the ridiculousness of the measures taken in response. Down south, I have no doubt, the rednecks would break out tank treads for every light dusting if only they had them.

Anyway... snow, crazy.

Oh, and today is my friend Randy's birthday. He's essentially my oldest friend by duration, as I met him my first week at college. Back then he drove a red Fiero, had a mullet that hung to his waist, consistently wore blueblocker sunglasses, and carried a water bottle filled with dilute lemonade-flavored KoolAid just about everywhere. Today he lives in Manhattan, has a respectable haircut, seems partial to Eddie Bauer, and teaches at some sort of high-end elementary school. And the greatest thing about Randy is, no matter how much time passes, whenever I do get to see him it's always the same. I never have to get re-acquainted with him, it's just cool.

So happy birthday to Randy -- you should still come to Portland sometime.

Update: As of Monday night, our total accumulated snowfall for the last week is 13 inches. Apparently the last time it snowed this much here was 1968. I've managed to remain hidden indoors for most of it, but tomorrow I'm going to have to make an attempt to go do some things; god only knows how much of a pain in the ass it's going to be. I wish we could at least get the public transit situation under somewhat better control -- North Portland feels terribly cut off right now.
2:20 AM ::
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