Snow Day, One Way Or Another

It snowed in Seattle last night, as predicted. It’s supposed to rain today, and the temperature is expected to be in the high 30s. So the snow won’t last.


Not my artwork

For 12 years, I worked in an environment where I was expected to get to work, no matter how much snow there was on the ground. I learned to get around town by allowing myself lots of extra time, disregarding schedules, hopping on whatever bus was moving in my general direction, and being prepared to get out and walk at any moment. I learned to shrug my shoulders at the snow. I got to work on time.

I now work in an office which may, or may not, shut down when it snows. It no longer depends on whether or not I can make it into work, but rather whether or not Management can make it into work. Last night’s snow wasn’t much – less than an inch on Capitol Hill – and it was already turning to slush this morning. I didn’t know how much snow would shut down my office. Some of my coworkers have the option to telecommute when the office shuts down. I do not. If the office shuts down, I can take a vacation day.

I almost prefer having to get to work, no matter what.


I called the office’s main line this morning. There was no message about us being closed. I sent a text message to my boss, letting her know I’d be into work at my regular time. She gave me the option of staying home, and taking a vacation, but I replied that I’d be in. (My boss, by the way, would be telecommuting.)

I wanted to ride the 47 bus to Westlake this morning, as usual, and enjoy the views of the snow-covered city. The streets seemed safe for driving, even for buses. Still, the 47 is one of Metro’s “unimportant” short routes – it doesn’t take much to shut it down completely, without notice. I decided to walk up to Broadway and ride Link light rail. If you want to get around, I say, go underground.

Here in Seattle, we have a special kind of snow. It hits the relatively warm ground, melts, then freezes, and we end up with a thin layer of snow on top of a sheet of ice. Plus, it’s a thin layer of snow on top of ice on top of some very steep hills.

A group of friends had a discussion on Facebook this morning about snow and about Seattle. I pointed out that people on Capitol Hill go sledding when it snows. If you can go sledding on the streets, I said, that should tell the world what driving around here is like.

I walked up to Broadway. The snow was light and slushy – not at all slick. The sidewalks were bare wherever there was tree cover.

I got to QFC, and everyone at the bus stop was stepping up to the curb. I looked behind me and saw a 49 bus approaching. I rode the 49 to Capitol Hill Station, and then rode Link to Pioneer Square Station.

I stepped out of Pioneer Square Station, and the only snow was on the roofs of buildings and the roofs of cars. It was a little disappointing.

A coworker walked into the office singing: “Oh the weather outside can bite me.” It summed up the morning perfectly.

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