Saturday, January 14, 2012

Oh No, the Snow

Classes are entering their third week, but it feels like three months have passed already, and the spring temperatures that popped up for a few days didn't help; I really began to think I should be expecting final revisions on short stories and final critical papers because of the balmier temperatures and people scooting through the streets in shorts and flipflops (!), but a reality check came swiftly enough with the snowfall two days ago.  It began while I was holding office hours, and by the time I left campus, the streets were so treacherous--and my old little car so unroadworthy--that I found myself slowly spinning out on the icy slush just yards after crossing from Evanston into Chicago.  It was as if I were 6 years old and skidding around Steinberg Skating Rink in Forest Park, except that instead of an overcoat, mittens and a wool hat I was wearing a ton of metal and plastic, and instead of other novice and skilled skaters around me I was surrounded by fast-moving missiles, and instead of wooden walls I needed to avoid smashing into trees and lampposts. I was driving very slowly, there wasn't a lot of traffic, I knew to turn into the skid, and I'm fine, but I drove the whole rest of the way home praying that I stayed on the road as opposed to skating off it, or cursing the mayor, Rahm Emanuel, whose salt trucks had apparently not yet reached the far northeast corner of the city.

It wasn't much better on Friday morning as I headed back north to teach. From my front window I could see the main road had been plowed (or at least salted and driven enough to appear passable), and thought, well, why stumble over to the El, which takes forever and would mean standing in the cold, waiting to transfer to the Evanston trains in the cold, and then standing in the packed cocoon for 4-5 stops only to have to trundle back out into the cold and snow to reach class. (I say all of this despite being, as regular J's Theater readers know, a devoted fan of public transportation.) So I thought, why not drive? My car slumbered in its usual post-storm sarcophagus, so I dug it out, and all was going well until I crossed into Evanston and discovered that the salting had stopped at the Chicago border; the northbound lanes were paved with icy slush, and it again was like skating as carefully as possible to get to my destination. Let it suffice to say that 1) I got to class on time; 2) I was able to get home in one piece; and 3) though I cannot afford a new used car, I seriously considered getting one that has four-wheel drive, or something to make the driving experience in this kind of weather Last night the temperatures fell to about 0F (according to NPR, it was already -5F without the windchill in the suburbs), and I did not dare venture out.

Today it's very cold (20F) but sunny. More snow is allegedly on its way tonight and tomorrow, though we're also supposed to get warmer temperatures, as in the high 30s too, and perhaps even rain. Cold but clear days and nights, or cold but non-icy rain I'll take any day over snow and slush, especially if there's any possibility I'll have to drive in it. Here are some pictures of the snow, which always looks pretty if you don't have to be in it!

On campus, as the snow began falling
The campus, as the snow began falling

During the snowstorm
The street, in the midst of the snowstorm

The local playground, in the snow
The local playground, in the snowfall

Walking to the store, Chicago
The street, heading east towards the lake

Snow falling
A pretty night scene in Rogers Park

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