Being from Thunder Bay I’ve witnessed some pretty heavy snowstorms. Once, when I was in Grade 10, my family and I were trapped indoors for four days while 177 cm (!) fell on our fair city. Rarely, however, was I actually required to negotiate the conditions; I would rarely drive in heavy snow, and even if I had to it was usually on deserted streets. So I don’t know if I’m well-position to call what’s going on behind me the worst storm I’ve ever seen…but it’s close.
Earlier today I did three presentations at a school near High Park. Towards the end of the first one I glanced outside and noticed that it was snowing; by the end of the second presentation it was clear that the winter storm which was supposed to hit around suppertime had come early. It took me two hours to drive from High Park to the office, and practically the entire thing was fraught with incident. (It’s also worth mentioning I was holding over $2,000 in cash in a pair of Brinks bags…it’s probably better if you didn’t ask, actually.) For instance, I spun out for the first time since driving home from Minneapolis after a Rolling Stones concert in February 1999. Then, on Church Street, I had a heated exchange with a woman who was driving a Jeep…AND WHO WAS TRYING TO PASS ME ON THE SIDEWALK. (I’m serious–she was really doing this.) At first I thought she was trying to park in the snow lane, so I rolled my window down. This, in turn, lead to the following exchange:
Her: “I have an autistic child in the car and you’re driving like a fucking idiot.”
(I was driving in my lane; remember, there was a blizzard occurring, so everyone was hemmed in. I couldn’t drive like a fucking idiot even if I tried.)
Me: “How am I supposed to know that?”
Her: [I can’t remember what she said]
Me: “I’m in my lane!”
Her: “Stop being such an asshole!”
At this point I’d recovered enough to come up with an appropriate answer. A few awful ideas came to mind (I won’t repeat them here lest this fall into the wrong hands), but instead I gave her a “shhh!” and a wave of the hand, uttered a condescending “off with you!” and rolled up the window as she kept on yelling. It was glorious; you really had to be there.
Meanwhile, I still had to get back to the office. It took me an hour and fifteen minutes to get from Jarvis and Lakeshore to Bloor and Church. That’s a five-minute drive under normal circumstances. Everything was fine until I passed Maple Leaf Gardens; then all hell broke loose. At one point it took eleven lights–eleven lights!–for me to get through an intersection. Oh, and in addition I had a full bladder the entire time. It’s a minor detail, but I feel it’s worth noting.
Ultimately, I made it back to the office. I was probably supposed to bring the rental car back to the agency, but there was no way I was driving anywhere else after that. So instead, I parked it under the building, dropped the keys (and the money) off and took the subway home. I got in at 6:15pm, about two hours after I usually get in…which, given what else was happening in the GTA this afternoon, probably wasn’t that bad. We’re now in between storms: the snow is moving on, but the freezing rain is moving in. I don’t know if I’ll have to work tomorrow or not. What I do know is that this is a storm worth savouring. I’m just glad I get to savour it from in front of a fire, instead of from inside a rented Yaris with a woman screaming obscenities at me from a Jeep that she’s driving on the sidewalk.