Monday, January 27, 2014

Walking in the Polar Vortex

Tuesday night was still bitter cold; the polar vortex now in full force, I traveled home and did not see my ride. I waited inside the small house next to the train station for a good ten minutes before finally realizing I was going to have to walk.

I really did not want to walk.

With the wind, the outside temperature was -25. I had dressed in layers but it was still really cold. I waited a few minutes more but the overhead light heater in the small hut was doing nothing with the wind blowing straight through. I bundled up until I was little more than an eye slit poking out through coat and hood and ventured out.

It was a three-block walk to the house. Not so bad. On a good day I could do it in five minutes and I actually didn't mind the walk. However in the blistering cold, with black ice everywhere, I minded a lot. My only goal was to not fall down.

There was so much snow at first I thought I might be able to get away at a good clip, but crossing over the tracks to get to the side I needed to be on, I almost slipped straight out on black ice. I caught myself and then slowed and steadied my walk. This was not going to be fun.

The sidewalks were knee high with snow, so I hugged the wrong side of the road, walking slowly on the little bit of room at the edge, when possible looking for snow that would crunch under my feet so I would be sure not to be on ice. I did not slip again, but it was slow, slow, going. My mind was racing with concern for the Boy. Where was the Boy? His phone had gotten wet a few nights ago, so I couldn’t call him to find out. Only thing for it was to get home.

Altogether it took me a half hour to get home. It wasn’t so bad in the areas where the lights were working on the street, but in the dark spots I was terrified I was going to get hit by a car, being nothing but a shambling black-clad ghost in a dark night with snow still falling. As I got close to the house, where I could see it in the distance, I saw a car pull in and realized it was the Boy. The wave of relief that washed over me almost undid the rest of the walk, but I managed. After a minute of scanning he saw me and came out to meet me.

“I am soooooo sorry. The car got stuck in the snow and I could not get it out.”

“It’s okay. It’s really okay. I’m just glad you are okay.”

“Do you still want to go out for dinner?”

“No. I want to drink a bottle of wine and try to warm up.”

The polar vortex was cruel. I did make it home, I managed not to fall down, and in the end, everything actually was okay.

Fortunately it started to warm up on Wednesday and by Friday I wanted to stay in the city a little late and have dinner and take some pictures to celebrate having not fallen down, died, gotten frostbite or been eaten by an ice creature. All in all it could have been much worse.

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