SNOW DAY

For those who don’t know, Vancouver had a terrible snow day today. People who had to be out and about today had wildly differing experiences. If you only needed to walk or be on the Skytrain, you probably had a pretty normal day despite the snow. If your day involved a road of any sort, then your day was probably very trying.

My day began very normal. I got to the train platform and waited less than two minutes for a train that was lightly occupied. I could have sat anywhere I wanted to. There were no delays and four quick stops later, I arrived at the station where I usually catch a ten minute bus ride to work. That’s where the problems started. As I got down to the bus loop I saw one of my buses just leaving the station. Normally that’s no big deal as that route has a maximum of eight minutes between buses during rush hour, so service is frequent. As I walked to my stop, I saw a long line of people waiting, people who couldn’t get on the bus that just left. This was somewhat concerning but I wasn’t too far back in the line so I probably would get on the next bus. So I stood there waiting in the freezing cold. One minute turned into eight but there was no bus in sight. Eight turned in twenty minutes. Meanwhile, the line up for this one bus got longer and longer, as long as I’ve ever seen it. After thirty minutes, I saw two buses on this route line up to take passengers. I didn’t get on the first bus but no matter as the second bus was right behind the first one. I got on the second one and got a seat. This bus filled to capacity, leaving a still massive lineup behind. I heard the bus driver say a third bus was right behind his. I hope he wasn’t lying. Surprisingly, the usual ten minute ride to work was still ten minutes on this day. The roads were mostly clear and since the bus was full, the driver didn’t stop for pickups. After I got to my stop I realized the sidewalks were also relatively clear so my short walk to the studio was easy.

Now I would have had a completely normal day beyond this except for thing, it did not stop snowing for basically the entire time I was at work. The snow kept coming down, going from light snowfall to heavy, massive, wet flakes. After lunch, people started abandoning ship, fearful of what terror the snow could cause on the roads. I waited until 3pm to leave which turned out to be a mistake. By that time, roads were a parking lot and conditions were miserable. People couldn’t even get out of the studio parking lot because the road next to the studio was just jammed full of cars. I had a choice of taking two buses, one bus that would go up a very slight hill or the bus earlier this morning that goes up a much steeper hill. The transit web site shows the positions of every single bus in the network and those buses going up the steep hill were all stuck at the bottom. So I chose to take the bus going in the other direction, to another train station.

Because of a crazy amount of traffic, it took 45 minutes to go what would take you or I ten minutes to walk, even in slushy conditions. I decided to set out on foot instead, along with many other people. As soon as I stepped off the bus I was met with a downpour of wet snow. Luckily I was prepared with a water resistant jacket, a warm liner, a toque, and water resistant hiking shoes. I made quick and steady progress, passing cars that were at a standstill. When I arrived at the train station about 15 minutes later, not one bus had passed me along the way. I felt such relief once I was at the station. It had taken about two hours just to get there but had I just walked to it right away, it would have been just thirty minutes. My commute home the rest of the way was uneventful. I even rode in a mostly empty train for most of the way back due to a quirk in how the trains are scheduled in this part of the system.

When I got inside my apartment I leaned over to take off my shoes and a deluge of water spilled out of my jacket to my surprise. I realized it was from all the melted snow that had accumulated in my hood which was down for most of my commute. For dinner I ate two big cheeseburgers and then took a nap in the evening. I thought I deserved both.

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