Wednesday, March 29, 2000 11:57 AM
part 23

There was a slight change in the weather: we had a blizzard. The largest snowfall in fifteen years fell in a little over twelve hours. Some of the drifts stood over a metre in height on their own. Those that were built on something (such as a car) were much higher. The windows and front door of the office were a wall of snow. Cars were covered completely. I couldn't walk around outside because the snow on the footpath was so deep that if I did wear my boots, they would fill with snow, and the temperature was so low that if I didn't wear them, I would get frostbite. sigh.

Atli and Jóhanna wanted to go to the movies. Outside, the visibility was often less than a metre. Driving on the road was essentially "aim between the street lights and drive very slowly". Cars became bogged if the driver tarried a bit too long at the traffic lights. We did reach the cinema... in a sense: cars blocked the road from half a kilometre away, all stuck in the snow. That was as close as we could get. We went home.

The Eurythmics would have changed the words to "Mondays are made of this", and who am I to disagree? I had a Monday. I had to meet someone in another town. The weather was fine and the bus terminal is only a kilometre away, so I walked there. I arrived a few minutes early, but the bus had arrived a few more minutes early. I missed it. I waited for another bus. I waited and I waited and I waited. After an hour, I asked someone when would be the next bus, and was told that I had another two hours' wait, so I had to make a phone call. Unfortunately, I'd left the phone number at work and there were no taxis. I started to walk home. Unfortunately, I had noticed the weather, and Atli's theory prevailed: the weather changed. It became poor, with snow and strong wind ushering me at a great pace across the ice. I arrived at work and found that my phone didn't work, so I went home to phone from there. There was no answer. I went back to work, during which time my phone had evidently called a service technician and had itself repaired. I made my phone call and started to walk back to the bus terminal because the weather had become fine again. Really. Had I spent even a moment thinking about it, I would have called a taxi, but I didn't. About halfway to the terminal, the weather turned poor again, with more snow and the strong wind attempting to prevent me from arriving. The temperature dropped to -2°C, with the wind chill making the day feel much colder. One assumes a certain posture while walking into strong wind: lean forward, take small steps, and hope that the wind doesn't change suddenly either direction or strength. Marcel Marceau had obviously done it before. By the time that I arrived at the terminal, the front of me was covered entirely by powder snow. The material of my jacket didn't absorb the snow unless I attempted to wipe it, so I had to remain like that until the snow evaporated, much to the mirth of the other passengers. I'd have said that it was briefly amusing, except that it wasn't. Okay, so I did laugh, too. So what.

After having written that, I read an article about Alan Hinkes. According to the text, he wanted to be the first British person to climb to all 14 peaks that are higher than 8,000 metres. He survived the thin air at the peak of Everest and K2, but he had a Monday while climbing Nanga Parbat: he inhaled flour dust while eating a chapati. The resulting sneeze caused him to slip a disk in his back and he was unable to move for more than a week. When a helicopter finally rescued him, he said "You have to see the bizarre, comic side, although it was sheer bloody agony at the time". There's a lesson to be learned: never climb while eating a chapati.

Anyway, I had my meeting. Then I had to come back...

Mondays like that never end well. I went to the terminal in the other town, again in time for the bus, and this time the bus wasn't early. It wasn't on time, either. It was cancelled. So was the next one. It was two hours before a bus arrived, and another half hour before it left. According to the list of stops, it would take me to the original bus terminal, and from there it would stop almost outside my apartment door, before continuing to stops further away. When we arrived at the terminal, I was tempted to get out and walk - just in case, but I didn't. What could possibly go wrong? :-) What could possibly go wrong is that the bus ignored the second stop and went on to the third one. I got out there and found that I was about three kilometres away from home, on the opposite side. At least it wasn't raining, but I didn't notice it at the time. Had I done so, then it might have started raining. I reached home eventually. If nothing else, I'm better at walking on ice, having had a crash course, indeed. Oh, that's terrible.

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