Untitle-able

December 30, 2009

Yesterday, for the second time in a couple of weeks, I abandoned my wheels on the side of the road due to poor weather conditions in Portland. The first time I was driving home in the upper elevations of the SW Portland hills on a quiet, cold Saturday night. This time I was trying to make my way home from work quickly during a Tuesday rush hour, minutes after realizing that the un-forecast snow that had been falling relentlessly for an hour was really starting to stick.

Because I have been fighting a nasty cold/flu this week and have had no energy, I drove to work when I normally would have taken a fifteen-minute ride on the 58 TriMet bus to downtown. When I peered out of a 20th floor window about 4pm and saw Salmon Street starting to turn white, I figured I might have just enough time to get home before trouble started. I knew within a couple of minutes of pulling out of the parking garage that I was not going to make it home in my car.

The first hint was the gridlocked traffic I was immediately stuck in. (Two, three red lights went by with little movement.) The second hint was the spinning front tires every time my foot came near the gas pedal, even on nearly level ground. I knew I had to stop driving within a few blocks before getting on Highway 26 and trying to go up and over the steepest hill in the city, so I pulled over and parked in a 1-hour parking space and set out on foot, figuring the parking ticket and the trip home would still be easier than the nightmare ahead if I kept driving.

I waited an hour for the bus to come by Goose Hollow. It never came. The snow kept falling. And getting deeper. I was coughing, wheezing, sneezing and hating and not paying much attention until I noticed that a BMW I helped a guy push out of a spin had not gone fifteen feet in fifteen minutes.

I walked over to the MAX line, the only thing that seemed to be moving, and took the next train to Beaverton Transit Center without even thinking about buying a ticket. After I had walked over for dinner at a nearby sushi joint I know that was empty because of the storm and waited for another hour, my bus came along and got me most of the way home.

I stayed home from work today with a horrendous all-day coughing fit and hitched a ride downtown to get my car after the snow melted this afternoon. I was happy to find no parking ticket on the windshield. I drove straight home and climbed back in bed to ride out this head funk I’ve got.

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