Friday, January 26, 2007

Slush and Nonsense

I still let out a boyish exclamation of “wow” when, having thrust the curtins aside, I am met with the sight of everything outside covered in a couple of inches of snow. Perhaps in contrast then, I am a bit anal when it comes to getting places on time. Tardy I am not, and this especially kicks in when where I have to be is important. So, shortly after my enthusiasm had died down the other morning and I had checked to see what my car looks like covered in snow (for some reason you have to do that) and had then turned on the TV to have it confirmed by the news that it had indeed snowed (why, whenever there is interesting weather, do I always turn to the TV to watch it? Brainwashed), I began calculating my forthcoming journey. I always need to arrive somewhere important a good half hour early – ideally an hour – so I can case the joint, acclimatise, unfluster myself or, most importantly, not be worrying that I might be late. Snow, I reasoned, could double my journey time, so I’d better leave even earlier to be as early. I understood it, anyway.

The virgin snow crunched in that delicious way as I made my way down the untouched garden path. Joining the main pavement though, there had been enough human traffic so far to have turned it all into that much less pleasant prospect: old snow. Numerous feet had compacted the snow into a slippery, dirty, hard surface. I hadn’t taken this factor into account in my adapted schedule: grip-less smart shoes don’t work well in such situations and progress would suffer. After a few slips and slides, my adapted walking style was akin to that of a power walker, albeit one moving very very slowly. Crossing roads became a mad scramble; I realised that as I was moving fairly slowly I really had to make the most of the gaps in traffic, but attempts to accelerate were often frustrated as I felt my initial momentum being lost in the style of Scooby-Doo running on the spot. Thankfully, drivers seemed to be displaying a note of caution. The people of Croydon (I have moved again by the way) tend to, I have noticed, drive incredibly fast. Or, at least, they seem to have a constant desire to go at a steady 60mph: venture onto any nearby dual carriageways and they seem agonisingly slow. That morning was perhaps the first time I had seen anyone driving anywhere near the speed limit on the quiet suburban road that runs past the house.

Students from the nearby school were doing their bit to clear the snow, scooping as much of it up as they could to make snowballs. I really wanted to join in the snowball fight, but I had my schedule and I knew I should probably avoid getting my suit wet and dirty, so I tried to look inconspicuous. Fortunately they ignored the passing slow-moving power walker.

Eventually I reached the train station to find my train was delayed by forty minutes. As people around me tutted, I felt vindicated in having added an hour to my allowed time. In fact, my grip-less shoes meant had the train been running on time I would have missed it by ten minutes, so the snow had outstupided itself with regard to me. A rather unpleasant period packed into the waiting room like cattle (it was that or the bitter cold on the platform), followed by a brief train journey, and I was pleased to see myself arriving at my destination with an hour to go, just the way I like it. Then my phone rang. The interview board were clearly less adept at planning accordingly, and the snow meant they needed to push me back by four hours.

Five hours to kill in a cold, strange town. I really should have just got involved in the snowball fight.


Will said...

I was born in Croydon! Think people drive so fast in Croydon because it means they'll get out of Croydon sooner.

Huw said...

Croydon could be worse: Beanos was saved. I'd just like to point out that I live in the 'nice' bit.

AnonymousCoworker said...

I think the moral here is to NEVER skip a snowball fight.

Chris said...

Two weather posts in a row. Lucky sod. I love extremems of weather and all Edinburgh can muster is a kind of hazy grey all the way through the 'storm' the rest of the country had.