My girlfriend told me about the snow over Gchat before I had noticed it outside my window. I peeked through the blinds for proof before returning to the computer. She said it wasn’t coming down too hard on her drive from Seattle to Tacoma, where she works.
Megan: a bus is overturned!
Kevin: Like a Soundtransit bus?
Megan: not sure yet
She then linked me to an early Tacoma News Tribune story, which at the time, didn’t say much other than that there were “reports of an overturned bus.” I checked Twitter where I saw that someone had retweeted a photo of the flipped bus. It was a Pierce Transit bus.
I commented on the news story with the Twitpic link. One person “liked” it. The Tribune story wasn’t updated for another couple hours, and a professional photograph came much later.
Judging from the popularity of the #snOMG tag, it seemed like everyone had something witty to say about the Seattle snow on Twitter (which was actually a nice break from the monotony of everyone’s witty comments about the new TSA policies). Some users even registered the ironic accounts @WaSnowpocalypse and @SeattleSnowPR.
But Twitter has been especially useful to spread news about school closings, interruptions in public transportation service, and car accidents. It also seemed to serve as a good distraction for all the people who ended up having 5-6 hour commutes home.
Later in the day, I got a text from my friend Aaron: Cookies, hot chocolate and a movie over at our apt at 7:30 if you can make it!! Ps don’t drive.
From Aaron’s apartment window, which looks out over the former location of a bear bar called The Men’s Room, we could see a Honda Element swerving back and forth across Madison St. Eventually, it got stuck trying to make it up the hill, wheels spinning wildly in place. I couldn’t make out the figure in the passenger seat, but I could see the glowing screen of an iPhone screen, likely texting friends for help or desperately googling “how to drive in the snow.”
Luckily, a few people stopped to help push the Honda to the nearby 7-Eleven. The same group of kind folks helped push two or three other cars out of the snow on Madison.
Aaron’s boyfriend left halfway through the movie to play in the snow at Cal Anderson Park. He and a dozen or so people played a game of pickup soccer.
On my way home from Aaron’s, I nearly got hit by a truck that sped through the four-way intersection at 14th and Pine. I figured that the driver had skidded through the stop sign accidentally, but when I caught a glimpse of him, I realized he had just been texting.
The internet in my apartment was spotty this morning, and I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to work from home. By the time I had gotten out of the shower, the internet had stopped working completely. After jiggling with the cord of the modem, then the router, for about fifteen minutes, I called Comcast customer support, but I couldn’t get through.
My roommate and I had breakfast, and then I tried calling Comcast again. It worked from his phone but not mine — even though we’re both on AT&T — only to get through to an automated system that bluntly explained that power outages were to blame for service loss.
Eventually, the internet returned. Instead of working, we spent the rest of the morning watching videos of Capitol Hill car accidents on YouTube. Occasionally we took breaks to IM our friends and ask if they got a snow day from work. Most of them did.
I got a call from my friend Allison this afternoon. Her car had gotten stuck at the bottom of Belmont and Lakeview Blvd. She needed someone move it for her once the snow and ice cleared away because she was departing for Germany the next day.
I met her at the Online Coffee Company, where she had laid out a customized Google Maps page titled “Allison’s Car Rescue,” with map pins identifying the location of her car, where it needed to go, and some helpful comments about which streets were zoned for parking. She then showed me the itinerary of her trip to Germany, all the meticulous details plotted out on travel-planning site called TripIt.
My father, who lives in Chicago, called me earlier today to make fun of my city for being crippled by so little snow. I’m not much of a photographer, so I did a quick search on Flickr, hoping to find a picture that might illustrate the severity of the weather. But I didn’t find anything like that in the search results.
For obvious reasons, people choose not to upload photos of car accidents or power outages — just the fun stuff. There are mostly photos of people smiling, making snow angels, and sledding down hills that seem perfect for exactly that. When we search Flickr a year or two from now, we’ll instead see the photos of people celebrating in a city that looks extraordinary on those rare occasion it is blanketed in snow.