January 7th, 2004 | Published in Uncategorized
Well, Al got stir-crazy and my head had one of those moments of “not so full of snot that I want to die,” so we decided to make a break for the neighborhood Fred Meyer down on Hawthorne.
Step One: Using a garden spade, shovel accumulated snow off the steps after cracking through the layer of ice that formed when the freezing rain came. Done. I manfully ignored the strange wheezing sound I made with every inhalation. The Men of Portland are doughty!
Step Two: Walk to the Fred Meyer. We make it about 150 yards down 48th St. before realizing it’s hopeless. Al quote: “If I keep walking, I’m going to go into labor.” Seeing as how the Saturn is encased in ice and buried under six inches of frozen snow and guarded by a savage Ice Balrog with a frozen whip, that’s not a good thing to hear. So we turn around. But we’re frustrated. So there’s always good ol’ Jae’s (Low Beer Price!) across the street from home. Either that or making a sled and pulling Al. The Men of Portland aren’t that doughty.
Belmont St. is an anarchic mess of coexisting cars and pedestrians. It’s as if civilization has ground to a halt.
The hilarious part is that it would have taken this much snow landing all at once well after midnight to inspire so much as a delay in Indiana or the Chicago area. Portland, though, is down for the count. School’s been cancelled for two days. The clinic where Al’s supposed to have an appointment with her midwife has been closed since yesterday. The local pub has shut down. All in all, it seems like a miracle that there was someone behind the counter at Jae’s on hand to sell us PopTarts and cornmuffin mix.
Contrast that with the Great Blizzard of ’79 in Chicago, when it was a “business as usual” day on which a gigantic icicle detached itself from the Sears Tower and smashed a car on the street below. It made the news, but the point is, there were eyewitnesses present. If a giant icicle fell in downtown Portland today, I’m not sure anyone would be there to see it.
Tolkien Miscellania: You pronounce that ca’rathras (‘th’ as in ‘rather’). At least, so says The Encyclopedia of Arda.
Area News Coverage Miscellania: The reporter out at the airport (where people are stranded), just milked some yucks out of calling it “the area’s largest homeless shelter.” What a wit. The Starbucks must be running low on whipped cream.