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Winter Is Back

KC has been suddenly plunged into winter. On Monday, it was 71 degrees. On Tuesday, it was slightly colder, and started raining. On Wednesday, the temperature dipped noticeably, and the rain turned to ice. This was when the craziness with driving began. I drive to the office that day, and even though we were released early, it still took my almost an hour to get home, most of which was spent sitting still on US-71.

The three northbound lanes go as such: The right lane becomes an exit for 11th Street on the east side of downtown. The middle lane joins the east loop, and goes on as I-35 across the bridge, as well as being the only route to get on the north loop(westbound I-70). The left lane becomes an exit for westbound I-670, also called the south loop, which is what I take.

On normal, dry, pleasant days, the traffic is still backed up to 18th or 22nd in the middle lane, with opportunistic jackoffs running up the lanes on either side, hoping to cut in line. These jackoffs were entirely responsible for the entanglements on Wednesday, when the middle lane was backed up all the way to 39th. The inch-thick layer of sandy ice on the road kept speeds even in open traffic under 20mph. With jackoffs blocking the right and left lanes trying to exploit holes in the middle lane, traffic was a standstill. Amazingly, there were no wrecks.

The traffic for almost the whole way after that was ridiculous. So terrible was it that I parked on the street in front of my house, because Broadway was so gridlocked that traffic was backed out past my place over a block away on a minor street. I parked the car, vowing not to touch it again until warm weather cleaned all the ice off it.

It got really cold, the next day. Cold for Kansas City anyway. I bundled up with a thick long-sleeved lumberjack shirt, my winter coat, scarf, gloves, and (this almost never happens) a hat. I was well-prepared for the gusty 14-degree cold that awaited me out the door, but it was still shocking. I took the bus that day, and rode in comfort all the way in. It started snowing really hard that afternoon, and they let us go at 3pm. It took me(on the bus) about a half an hour longer than the drive would have taken, and I happily took refuge in the house as the snow continued to fall.

On Friday, I intentionally got to a late start, in the hope that the city would have used the time to clear some of the sidewalks that were abominable the day before. The snow accumulation was far less than what was predicted, totaling maybe four inches downtown. There were legends about some parts of southern and central Missouri getting inundated with multiple feet of powder. Twenty miles north of KC, there was no snow at all.

That evening I took the 163 to Brookside where I met Erp and Chris, drank some beer, and moved on from Hooper's to the Brooksider, then the Peanut, and finished up at the Hurricane in Westport, where we met a metric ton of our friends, including Brad who gave me a ride home while Erp tried his luck with some girl with big boobs.

I didn't leave the apartment again until this morning, when I dusted off the car, filled the tank, and drove to work.

9:46 AM, Dec 4, 2006

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