A Missouri Girl in a Colorado Snowstorm
I feel that I should preface this by saying that once, while in high school, our superintendent canceled school for approximately a month because of some light ice and a few flurries of snow. When I say a month, I mean a month. We were off for so long that we had maxed-out our makeup days for the summer; this is a sharp contrast from the ice storm which left my entire town without power for approximately two weeks. That 2007 ice storm was so severe that a significant portion of our trees’ branches snapped from the weight of the ice after they were frozen over. It was a devastating experience for Springfield. Perhaps it was this 2007 ice storm that brought on my discomfort for winter weather. Despite the severity of the 2007 storm, my more recent experiences with snow and ice fit more within the category of my superintendent canceling class for around one month.
I have been living in Colorado for nearly two years now. Up until about a week ago, I honestly thought that I had become well accustomed to the Colorado weather and had left my Missouri days behind me—until the winter storm which occurred on the 24th. At the time of the storm, I was visiting family in Broomfield and as such had a short commute into the CU Boulder campus. From the moment that I stepped outside of the house on the morning of the 24th I knew that I was doomed. While I was brushing the snow from my car, a neighbor passed me and was understandably entertained that I was wearing loafers and no gloves. I was already off to a rocky start. I also did not feel it necessary to shovel the driveway, and because of that I had a marvelous time sliding backward and into the street.
My next mistake was not giving myself extra time to reach my destination. One can imagine my genuine shock when I discovered that my commute time would be double what it usually would have been. In an attempt to be clever, I decided to take an alternate route which would lead me down the less crowded side roads instead of the main highway. However, only a few minutes into my drive, I quickly realized why those roads were not as busy; they had not been snow-plowed. Understandably, the snowplows had focused more on the main highways and the interstates as opposed to the lesser used side streets. So, there I was in my little green hatchback, slipping and sliding around corners and nearly unable to brake for stoplights. To make the situation worse, my fellow drivers had very little trouble making their way around the slick roads. While I was going twenty miles per hour, the other cars were desperate to find ways to pass me.
Despite seemingly inching my way into Boulder, I did eventually make it there. I thought that my journey had finally reached a satisfying conclusion, however, I was again incorrect. As parking is scarce and difficult to find around campus, I decided I would leave my car at my apartment and take the bus the rest of the way into the university. Finally, one might think, an intelligent decision on my part. It was only after waiting at the bus stop for some time that I realized that I had lost my bus pass. I discovered this just as my bus was arriving and then departed. I had to stand there and watch it leave without me, anguished because my tightwad self refused to pay a couple of dollars out-of-pocket for bus fare. I went for my Plan B; to take my bike into campus. I strapped my bicycle helmet on and took off, feeling confident that I would soon reach my destination. Yet, because the sidewalks had not been salted, they were packed down with ice which stuck to my bicycle wheels.
After cycling for the grand time of around five minutes, my wheels were so caked over with ice that I could no longer ride the bike. I instead shamefully walked my bicycle all the way up to the school. By the time I reached my first class, my loafers were frozen as I attempted to wade through the snow. I locked up my bike and slumped inside with only two minutes to spare. So, what can one learn from my experience? Once a Missouri girl, always a Missouri girl? That CU Boulder ought to cancel classes for an entire month? Always carry your bus pass? In truth, I doubt that there is any lesson to be learned. Much as we might find frustration that not all of our experiences lead to a better understanding of ourselves or of the world around us, sometimes all we can do is have a chuckle at our outrageousness. If I put even a little more thought or consideration into my journey into the campus, perhaps I would still have been able to feel my hands and feet when I reached my home at the end of the day; maybe that is the forced lesson which can be extracted from all of this. While my drive into Boulder from Broomfield was quite daunting at the time, the image of myself drifting around at twenty miles per hour in my little alien-green Kia Soul is quite silly to think about. If there’s one thing that this Missouri-born girl can do, it is to laugh at herself for barely surviving a little Colorado snowstorm.