GAAAAH! Fuck you, Mother Nature, for going all Joan Crawford on me like that. Behold the breakdown for yesterday:
10 a.m. Leave for work. Thick snow’s already falling, and forecasters say our little corner of New England will get walloped by a winter storm. I know, without even calling, that the office will be closed for the day, but I HAVE to go in because I’ve got a phone interview scheduled with a Very Important National Politician, and I was lucky to get that appointment in the first place (the best I’d reasonably hoped for was a canned statement from the VINP’s third undersecretary), and there’s no way I can reschedule if I miss the VINP’s call. So I get in my car and start what’s usually a half-hour commute this late in the morning.
1:30 p.m. Arrive at the office, which closed an hour and a half before (a.k.a. “Two hours after I left”). Fortunately, my security badge doubles as an electronic key. The newsroom’s deserted save for my boss, who got there just a few minutes before. “You may as well go home,” he said. “I can’t,” I replied. “[A VINP] is supposed to call me at 3:15 to talk about [this story I’m working on].”
3:10. VINP’s press secretary calls to say that unfortunately the VINP is running late, so could we re-schedule for 4:30? Of course I say yes.
4:30. Press secretary calls. Unfortunately the VINP is running late. Can we reschedule for 4:45? Of course I say yes.
4:53:30. Press secretary calls. Hold for the VINP, please.
4:56. VINP call ends. Wow. The man gives great soundbite. Quotewise, he’s the best 90 seconds of journalism I’ve ever had. Too bad he probably never even knew my name.
5:10. Get in my car and leave for home. Streets haven’t been plowed at all. Thassokay, it’s not like Hartford is anything important like the capital city of Connecticut or anything. No, wait, it is! Streets still aren’t plowed, though.
5:20. Pull onto Interstate on-ramp.
5:21. Interstate closes.
6:15. Still sitting on the on-ramp.
6:20. Traffic is moving! Hosanna! I’m moving, I’m moving. . . I’m two hundred yards closer to home but now traffic’s stopped again. Another motionless half-hour.
6:50. One-hundred-yard advance. Stop. Curse. Swear. Then notice that if I ride on the shoulder for 20 yards I can reach that next exit, which has been plowed.
7:00. And I see that the alternate road I’d planned to take is impassable. The Interstate’s still closed. Now what? Start driving west. I’ll find my way home somehow.
7:30. Where the hell am I? Some ritzy retail district. Too bad everything’s closed; I’d love nothing more than to stop and ask for directions.
7:45. Also, I need to use the bathroom.
8:00. Hey, I recognize that route number! Somewhere south of here, it eventually reaches an intersection not far from where I live. All I need to do is — no, wait, it’s a hilly road. And it hasn’t been plowed or salted. No way can my car make it. Keep driving down whatever the hell road I’m already on.
8:10. Seriously, I really need to use the bathroom.
8:24. There’s a McDonald’s up ahead. And it’s open! There’s people inside! Oh Ronald, my love, your hamburgers suck but for now I adore you. Going up to the counter, I say in what turns out to be the most unintentionally plaintive voice I’ve ever used, “Can you tell me how to get to [town where I live] without using Interstate 84? It’s closed in both directions.” Staff’s shocked to hear that. Turns out I’m only a few miles north of my destination.
9:00. Home. Finally. Over the course of eleven hours I accomplished nothing except a 90-second phone call.