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February 02, 2008

i didn't know i lived in a freezer

I don't listen to the radio much, but last Sunday morning I had it on as I was getting ready for church. A CBC radio announcer voiced a bleak outlook for the week: terrible weather in every corner of our province. I turned off the radio. I'd almost rather live in ignorance of the minus-43C-with-windchill weather conditions. After morning church, my brother and I received about eight offers of rides home. That may be a new record. There's nothing quite like a blizzard to bring those invitations on! By Sunday evening I had already had enough of the arctic wind. But it wasn't done with us yet....

Monday morning I put on my thickest mitts and headed to my bus stop. The bus was late, making me miss my connection and arrive at work about 25 or 30 minutes later than usual. My boss didn't seem to mind, maybe he even enjoyed having a report from one of the underlings of society about how the bus system was faring the weather. When I went to my bus stop that evening, it was gone. It had turned into a small hill with the incline of a black diamond ski slope, and my options were either to stand on the street or to hop up to the ledge someone had made in the snow heap. I opted for the ledge.

On Tuesday I went to the bus stop 15 minutes early, hoping that I would get to work on time. Instead, I just stood at the bus stop for 20 minutes, and got the same bus as usual. My daily bus stop companion, Woman-Man,* usually paces while he waits for the bus. Tuesday found me pacing too. I was dreaming about hot chocolate, and how they should give it out for free at bus stops on cold days. I don't think I'd ever been so glad to see my bus when it arrived.

A few minutes later, at the terminal, a man poked his head into the shelter and asked if anyone wanted free hot chocolate or coffee, compliments of his radio station. It is a little hard to hold a lidless cup of hot chocolate when you're wearing the puffiest mitts you own, but I sure wasn't complaining. A black lady on my second bus was wearing white socks on her hands. I could hardly believe it--my hands weren't even warm in my puffy mitts. I arrived at work only to have the owner of the print shop open the door for me as I arrived. "She looks pretty chipper for having been riding the bus in this weather," said one of the front office staff. By "pretty chipper," did she mean that my mascara had blotched around my eyes, because of the moisture? Because it had, and I looked somewhat like a cold raccoon.

I arrived home that night to find the walks shoveled. Well, most of them. Moko said he did it in two shifts. I said thank you.

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday were no-mascara days. (It would save me about $5 a year if I just got used to this and never wore mascara.) I got to work in better time. And at night I mostly stayed inside. My grown-up little brother headed out the door one night with the parting words "If my ears get cold I can just put up my hood." I told him, more than casually, that I had worn "only my hood" home from the bus stop and that my ears were very sore by the time I got to our house, which is only two blocks from the bus stop. Maybe his ears were already partially frozen, because he still didn't take a touque, even after I said that.

Have you ever met one of those people who just isn't very socially understanding or considerate? Unfortunately, I think bus drivers meet those people all the time. A few of those people were on my bus tonight. One was conversing with the bus driver, who told him that she was under a lot of stress with the bad weather and the traffic. He understood. Or he said he did, and then he talked to her much of the rest of the trip. At the next main stop, a man got on and swore at the bus driver for leaving people standing in the cold. What, does he think that she stopped for a spa treatment between terminals? What a horrible way to treat an already-stressed driver.

Last night a friend told me that he is sorry that I have to ride the bus. But I'm sorry that he doesn't get a free reminder of God's grace in his life every morning when he hears the conversations of single, working moms on the bus. I'm sorry he doesn't ever have the chance to sit next to the overweight guy in a down jacket that smells like smoke, to learn gratitude for the Lord's little kindnesses. I'm sorry the Lord didn't drop a cup of free hot chocolate into his mitten and that he doesn't get to see the Lord's goodness in the on-time buses. I'm sorry he didn't get to read Relationships: A Mess Worth Making and let the driver worry about the traffic and the weather. I'm OK with riding the bus. Now could it warm up, please?

*He wears fitted pants and carries a purse-like bag. When his hood is up, it is hard to tell from the back if he is a woman or a man.


  1. Agora entendo pq vc disse que eu escapei do frio. Espero que esquente nos proximos dias, que estou quase voltando!
    Vc teria alguma encomenda do Brasil (algo que dê pra encontrar no sul...)?
    Captain Forr

  2. sabe, meus irmaos vao pro Brasil em maio, se Deus permitir, e recentemente recebi algumas coisas q a mamae mandou. entao naum tenho uma encomenda. but thanks!

    i would be happy if it would warm up, too!

  3. oh my word, Julie! i was soooo glad for my car that week & i feel bad for you having to be out in that for so long, waiting! why did you say you got to work "only" to have the owner open the door? i'm glad they didn't care too much when you were late b/c of the bus! that would suck.

    Is mike retarded? oh my word. or maybe just a good amount of pride. THOSE are the days you definitely HAVE TO wear toques. good grief!!

  4. the owner doesnt usually open the door for me. but then on the day that it was so cold and my mascara was smeared a la raccoon, he opened the door for me.