Thursday, January 17, 2008

Winter Blunderland

Trying to get somewhere in life. At least it looks pretty.

What should have been a routine trip to Washington D.C. turned into a train wreck today.

Had to go to DC to visit the Russian Embassy to file for a tourist visa since I leave for Moscow a week from today. It took a bit longer than anticipated to arrange all of my papers but I got the final papers last night and this morning I was on my way.

Going to DC is a fairly regular thing for me. To almost anywhere in the District, it's about an hour from my house - maybe an hour and a half at most. The drive down was pleasant. Smooth, traffic was light for a weekday and the weather was that crisp cold right before a snowfall. Flurries started falling on the way into the District and by the time I reached the Embassy, the flakes were pretty large but traffic flowed smoothly.

Dropping the paperwork off was pretty simple: put the papers in a slot, the man checks them out to make sure they are "in order" and hands you a receipt. Come back on Tuesday and the visa will be ready. Nice. I'm in and out in a short amount of time and back on the road to Baltimore and on the way to another day behind the bar at The Spro.

Of course, the flurries have turned to a full downpour and snow is everywhere. It's cascading down pretty heavily and through my windshield, the snowflakes streak by like the Millenium Falcon jumping into hyperspace.

This means that accumulation is occuring, traffic is building and I'm generally screwed.

For whatever reason, schools decide to close two hours early. I never understood this. Two hours early means that parents must scramble to get themselves home too. Now businesses are letting their staff go home early. Everyone and their mother is hitting the roads at 12:30pm. So, not only are the roads hazardous because of the two inches of snow but everyone is trying to get somewhere, which means that everyone is going nowhere.

But it's cool because I've got the iPhone and its' maps are directing me to the side roads where I can bypass the traffic. Without a doubt, those other people and their mothers are on the same road. No matter what I do or where I go, I'm foiled at each and every turn.

So, what would have been a simple one hour journey turned into a six hour odyssey that had me meandering across Montgomery County, Howard County, briefly into Carroll County, Baltimore County and Baltimore City. A normal sixty mile journey took ninety-five, and it wasn't uncommon for things to drag on and on. For example, one mile on Interstate 70 took 35 minutes and then I hit the "Authorized Vehicles Only" median crossing and got outta there. Later, 1/4 mile on Lake Avenue took a half hour to cover. It was insane.

In the end, I never made it to The Spro. At six o'clock, I called and told them to close and go home. I was maybe two miles and at least another hour away. Instead, I bailed and went to Woodberry to ride out the storm.

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