Monday, February 2, 2009

Blow, blow, thou winter wind...

So I got up this morning to snow. A lot of snow. It had started late last night and had still been going in the early AM when I finally got to bed. When I got up, it was still going. I have been telling people repeatedly in New York that London doesn't get snow the way we do back in the states, and that's mostly true most of the time. But today I trekked out in ankle-deep white to catch the tube to school early, only to be greeted by a series of hurdles that should have been indicators to turn around and snuggle back into bed.

First, there was breakfast. In the cafe in my halls, breakfast is served from 7:45-9AM Monday through Friday. But it was dark and vacated when I got down there at a quarter to eight. Other students stood around with me, until I finally left because I didn't want to be late getting out the door. I got outside, and despite the hour, the roads and sidewalks were covered with snow. I got to the tube station and needed to top up (refill) my Oyster (Metro) Card, and there was no one in the booths to do so, just a sign with the hours of operation for the booth, showing me that whoever was meant to be working was half an hour late. I couldn't figure out the automatic machine for ticketing and ended up spending £4 to get a single fair to school, which is ridiculous since the student weekly unlimited, what I had been planning to buy, is £18. When I got to the first station I change at, I wandered over to my transfer to find the entire platform blocked off. I went to another platform to get onto a different train line that wasn't suspended. When I got off that train they had closed up the station I arrived at: a mob of people stood out front the entrance behind the accordion gates, while a TFL employee spoke into a megaphone to give updates on the various lines. It was like wartime! I got to Central and found out my appointment was cancelled, as was my first class session for the day, and that the school itself would probably close sooner rather than later. So I went to the library and got some scanning done for The Space's blog, and have been holed up here ever since (at time of publication, about two hours).

It seems ridiculous that a major metropolis should have so many problems over a little snow. It may be steady, it may be sticky, but it's not all that heavy and it is most certainly not a blizzard--I've lived through several, including one in which my parents and I had to sleep in our living room as our heater was out, with only our fire place for warmth, drinking water my mother had pumped herself into buckets from a well that fed our neighbor's horse trough. Oh yes, I know a blizzard, and this is nowhere near that. All in all, I was struck with the rather pathetic nature of this city to deal with this kind of weather, and mostly I'm confused. Snow isn't totally foreign to these people, so seriously, what's the deal? Still, after thinking about it a bit, London and it's relationship to snow is similar to that of New York and it's relationship with rain. As soon as it starts, suddenly everything stops. Subways are delayed, no one wants to go anywhere, every one's twenty minutes late or they reschedule for next week. It's ridiculous. Where is the gumption, people? It's just a little precipitation.

I am also effectively stranded here, not knowing how to walk home from this area, and also not having any trains to take. And also, apparently the buses are severely delayed, not that I'd know what to take anyway. And now I'm groaning like everybody else I've been complaining about. Screw this: I'm off to find a cappuccino and maybe see a movie, if I can find anywhere with any employees to provide me with such things. My sleeping bag coat is kind of like a bed. Or maybe I'll stay in the library till they close, watching old productions of Shakespeare. There must be some thing to do, even with an entire city shut down. I'm off to hunt it out.


cokaly said...

reading this renders me mildly irritated. i moved to delaware and the same thing happened. and then i moved to colorado and it was worse yet. in colorado. in boulder. at the base of the rocky mountains.

Lea Maria said...

I have also discovered that the city of London doesn't actually own a plow. Not one. Whole city. No plow. They've also been complaining that they "can't be expected to be prepared for 'real' seasons."

What the fuck?

But Boulder is worse by far. Seriously: No excuse.