Thursday, December 16, 2010

Why I smile when the weather turns ugly

I couldn’t help but smile a bit while watching weather reports play out last night, filled with horrid news of freezing temps, rain, sleet and dangerous driving conditions across the Land of Cotton. It was late afternoon when I heard the first reference to “black ice,” and knew it was only a matter of time before traffic became a slip-sliding affair.

I was right. The evening was still young when the show I was watching on the tube was interrupted by a frazzled meteorologist, yelling that the sky was falling and warning motorists to drive with caution. He then urged anyone not needing to be out and about to stay home – safe, toasty warm and out of harm’s way!

I smiled again, tossed another log onto the crackling fire in my den and, well, sighed. The warning offered up by the harried guy on the tube was, in fact, good advice. And for the first time in three decades I was going to be able to ignore the weather and not worry about losing my job.

I’ll explain. Back when I was working for that place with the printing press in the basement, each year when the days grew short and a chill filled the air, a memo from headquarters was tacked onto a bulletin board in the newsroom.

I forget the phrasing, but essentially the point of the note was to outline company policy, that when the weather turned ugly – ice, snow, sleet, heavy rains, tumbling temperatures – employees were expected to find their way to the office.

And that’s what I did. While the rest of the world it seemed was warm and safe in bed, I slid my way into work each winter for years, inching slowly across treacherous roads and interstates covered with ice and show. The good news is that as often as not the roads were empty and my sliding about often seemed like some sort of bizarre game or cosmic joke.

It was me against Mother Nature and since I’m still around, I’m guessing I won! Now I can sit back and relax in my comfy chair, remembering warmly all those frigid days when the landscape was bleak and yet another deadline was resting just beyond the slate-gray horizon.

When I get up today – noonish has a nice ring – I might venture out for a cup of Joe, then pick up my morning paper in the driveway. I’ll be thinking of my friends and former colleagues at that new place in the ’burbs as I read about the bad weather.

Covering Mother Nature can be dirty work and somebody has to do it. Nice to know I’m no longer that somebody.

Roads across the Land of Cotton (photo above) were covered with ice late Wednesday as a cold front blasted its way across the region (AJC).

1 comment:

  1. Ron
    I'm smiling, too, but I wasn't last night. I foolishly went out for groceries at 5:30. When I loaded my car at 6ish, all was fine, but by the time I got out of the Kroger parking lot, the road had frozen and I slid all over it, then slid down our driveway, barely missing the hedges. Quite a thrill ride. It is great not to be slipping to work today.