And it wasn’t good. The sky looked weird, it was raining sideways, and there were occasional gusts of wind that almost blasted me into the next lane of traffic. And from all reports, things would only get worse. As I was going across Montage Mountain, I thought, “Shit, I should’ve stayed home. I’m a goddamn idiot.”
It didn’t help that I was listening to the radio while I drove. I had it tuned to an AM news station, and they were doing wall-to-wall hurricane coverage, of course. And they were basically telling everyone the apocalypse was upon us. Before it was over, the eastern seaboard of the United States would look like a Pop-Tart with a big bite taken out of it. And Scranton/Wilkes-Barre is only 125 miles from NYC, and definitely within the bite radius.
Finally, I’d had enough of the scaremongering, and put in a CD. Without the power of suggestion blaring from my speakers, it suddenly seemed a little less scary out there. It wasn’t good, but I decided I’d probably be OK.
Several of the employees in my department didn’t make it in, and many more said they were only staying until “lunch” break at 8:00. I certainly wasn’t going to try to talk anyone into staying; it was shitty outside, with added shittiness in the forecast.
Plus, I planned to leave, too. I felt a little guilty, since I’m the captain of the ship, but I was afraid of being stranded down there. I had visions of trees across roads, and sparking power lines at neck level. Being a hero doesn’t pay too many dividends, I’ve learned, in an office setting. Maybe on the battlefield, but not in the cubicle farm.
At the height of the storm a tractor trailer backed into our receiving doors, and I walked out there to see what the driver had to say. He told me he’s from Mississippi, and it’s his opinion that everybody’s acting like a giant pussy up here. I chuckled and returned to my desk, mildly shamed.
I called a meeting at 7:30, and learned that two more people planned to leave at lunch. And at 8:00 most of us took off. The worst of it was supposed to happen after 9:00 p.m., and we all wanted to be home with an adult beverage before then.
And it was raining… Nothing else. It wasn’t nearly as windy as it had been when I was coming to work; it was no different that a thousand other nights I’d driven home in a downpour. As I was going across Montage Mountain, I thought, “Shit, I should’ve stayed at work. I’m a goddamn idiot.”
There was a 45 mph speed limit on I-81, and cops were pulling people over left and right. They weren’t joking around with it, so I set my cruise control for 50. It felt like I was barely moving, and expected to see dogs passing me on the right. But I can’t be paying no $250 fines…
When I finally reached our little town here, the streets were nearly deserted. But Wendy’s was open, I was hungry, so I went inside. I ordered a #1 with cheese, no pickles, and a sweet tea. There was only one other person there, some guy with all sorts of notebooks open on his table. He was going to town with a highlighter, and taking an occasional blast off his coffee cup. He never looked up.
The wind picked up later in the night, and our lights flickered off and on. At one point the power went off for a few seconds, just long enough to screw up all our electronics. But the storm was no big deal for us. Lots of people lost their power here, but we never did.
So, there you go: my storm report. In hindsight it’s easy to laugh at everybody’s hand-wringing in our area, but I’ve been in some bad weather in my life, and it’s not very funny. Especially when there’s social pressure to be far from your house during the whole affair. Funk dat. Regardless of what a Mississippi truck driver might say about it…
I hope everyone who got a heavier dose is safe today, and life returns to normal real soon. I’ll be back tomorrow.
See ya then!