I didn’t make a mad dash to the grocery store before the storm came last week. I had already gone to Trader Joe’s a few days beforehand, bringing home reasonable items like feta cheese, red onion, spinach, chicken and swiss milk chocolate (for I will never prefer dark chocolate, flavanoids or not!). It didn’t seem like such a big thing, this snowstorm, particularly because I live in a neighborhood within walking distance to several grocery stores. There were some logistics we had to work out – S. had to leave Detroit a day early to make sure he could get home, for instance, but Friday night found us happily ensconced in one of the neighborhood bars, first, and then tipsily happily tripping our way to our neighbor’s house to continue watching the snow pile up while plying ourselves with more wine.
Saturday we awoke to a period of suspended animation that has not lifted, since. Snow!
It seemed like plenty of time to dig out before the work week began. S. spent an inordinate number of hours shoveling to clear our walkway and freeing our car from the white stuff. Skylar joined him, joyfully:
We couldn’t go anywhere and nobody could come to us and so we worked in the snow and played in the snow and when we got cold we came in and cleaned, and napped. Saturday evening we joined our neighbors in what felt like a rather treacherous pilgrimage to a nearby Thai restaurant, where we were offered a table. I kept narrating the evening in my head because it seemed something right out of a novel – six friends wrapped from head to toe in scarves and mittens and boots skating across the ice slick of their neighborhood carrying bottles of wine and six packs of beer, ordering plates of spicy basil tofu, pad thai, tom kha.
I didn’t really for the city to be up and running Sunday, and it wasn’t, but by the time Monday morning rolled around I sort of expected a somewhat functioning city. As it turns out, though, the city of Pittsburgh is absolute crap at snow removal. Our street still hasn’t been plowed, which means we stil can’t get our car out. Fortunately I am able to walk to work but what normally takes me between ten and fifteen minutes is currently taking at least a half an hour because there are few cleared sidewalks and I find myself scaling drifts of snow and moving slowly across long stretches of ice.
I was raised in northern Michigan, where two feet of snow would be easily taken care of by now, groomed into cross country ski trails and molded into ice rinks. Not so, in Pittsburgh, where conditions are nearly as bad this Tuesday morning as they were Saturday, because as even the most snow-innocent person could tell you, the freezing and refreezing of the streets creates more hazardous conditions than the original.
And more snow, they say, is on the way. As far as I can tell we have a window of about eight hours today to get ourselves to the grocery store and the liquor store (because, let’s be honest here, I’m going to need some wine in the house if life is going to continue, interrupted) but I am not thoroughly sure how we are going to accomplish this, between work and the snow and all.
I actually don’t think I’ve ever experienced a time where life has come to such a glittery standstill. I am itchy to resume normal life – there are Oscar-nominated movies to see, and yoga classes to attend, and things to do! At the same time, I can recognize this situation as unusual, and understand it’s possibly even a once-in-a-decade situation. Still, though – next time there is a warning of a big winter storm, you can bet I can be found in line at the Giant Eagle, purchasing my milk and gluten-free bread. Which actually, will be today.