Tauntauns For Everyone!
(The Blizzard of 2007)
Yes, it’s official. Burlington, Vermont is now the ice planet Hoth. And I love it!
In case you don’t actually know, Valentine’s Day brought us Vermonters (and others) one freaking huge dump of blizzard, so much so that it appears that we got the fourth most snow out of the deal according to that flawless work of “self-correcting” knowledge known as Wikipedia. (And the aforequoted is just for you, Simmon.) Current BFP coverage (for now) is here if you want it, but I’m not going to talk about school closings or stuck cars or whine about the snow when I voluntarily live in a state infamous for long, snowy winters. I’m going a different path, as you might often expect from me.
When the storm hit on Hallmark’s favorite holiday, I had already bought provisions, charged up all devices, unpacked the candles, and prepared for the worst. In hindsight, I didn’t need any of that, but as a former Boy Scout, I like to be prepared. I was also very excited about the storm because the entertainment value far exceeds the inconveniences for me. There were guffaws aplenty when I witnessed the sheer irony of two tow trucks on the same block STUCK in a snow bank attempting to rescue two cars nearby. I checked in on a lone car in the parking lot near my house — first dusted, then lightly covered, then densely packed, and then totally engulfed by the cold white stuff. What’s it like to be that one guy (or gal)? Not that I’m gloating or anything.
Given the blockage, I stayed home from work and produced a couple of SubSIN episodes, munched on all of the non-refrigerated health snacks I bought at “Hippie Market” the day before, watched some movies on the DVR, and basically enjoyed the day. It felt like playing hooky a little — even a bit like the feeling I had in fourth grade when school was cancelled for quite awhile during the Blizzard of ’78. That one was a doozy and beat this new blizzard hands down. Just check those snow totals if you weren’t around for both.
And, of course, some bus notes from today, as the roads were largely cleared. Well, cleared for Vermont. Outsiders would bitch and scream about what many of us would call acceptable clearance. But anyhoo…
The bus to work took a “special route” to be able to navigate the narrow clearings. And there’s something rather jarring about riding down off-route streets while still waking up for work… as in getting a moment of panic every so many seconds, thinking about being on the wrong bus, and then knowing you’re on the right one, over and over again.
And I have to say that the outbound driver and the one taking me back into town (neither, of course, were Han Solo, but those buses were definitely as warm as an eviscerated tauntaun) both did a superb job at driving under some rather harsh post-blizzard conditions. I may write CCTA a thank you letter. Feel free to do the same, if applicable.
Speaking of waiting for the bus to take me home, I realized while waiting almost on TOP of my completely buried bus shelter that it was quite nippy out: the kind that tightens up your face and stings your ears. The bus was abnormally (but justifiably) late, so I was out in the -10 wind chill for about 45 minutes, feeling like a freezing Luke Skywalker and babbling senselessly about Yoda and the Degobah System. Okay, not so much of that last part… but it was pretty freaking cold out.
And speaking further of the trip home, it was quite something to stand atop a 12-foot snow embankment in the dark, waving down my bus, and then having to duck and descend into the vehicle (maybe like getting into an AT-AT? …okay, even I’M sick of my Star Wars referencing at this point…). In many places away from downtown, there are no sidewalks cleared (though, you’ve got to love the “tunnels” that are now the downtown sidewalks), and so many folks have broken out the skis, sleds, and even snowshoes to traverse over the mounds of fluffiness. Right now, Church Street has gigantic hills of snow dropped intermittently down the pedestrian thoroughfare, some as high as 15 feet and over 30 feet wide (and one I saw at Fletcher Allen looked about 25-30 feet tall), replete with little hooded moppets sledding up and down them with crazed laughter in their voices. Kids know the score, and they certainly know how to turn a supposed liability into an asset. Come to think of it, I really should get a pair of cross-country skis one of these days. (Seriously, that stuff is pure powder right now.) I could have joined in on the downtown skiing that looked like so much fun. Maybe I’d even keep the suit and tie on. Wouldn’t that be something.
All in all, a fun-filled storm, even if my mail packages were delayed a day… the trials I must endure for a good time.
I have a feeling that tauntauns will haunt my dreams.