Trail Mix | Ron Judd
When snow attacks Seattle, our brains freeze up, too
OK, we know this is about a week late. Somewhere during our move from one section of the paper to the other, the following memo about winter...
Seattle Times staff columnist
Somewhere during our move from one section of the paper to the other, the following memo about winter weather ramifications for the Puget Sound region was temporarily misplaced.
This stuff happens.
But it looks so amazingly prescient now that it's tough to keep it under wraps. So we feel compelled to offer it up today, in the true holiday spirit of we-told-you-so-ism. Clip and save:
To: Western Washington.
From: Salt, Sand and Ceaseless Whining Division, Public Works Department, Escrow Heights.
Re: Winter storm watch.
Residents should be advised that a large weather system, alternately named "Arctic Plunge," "December Blast" and "Holiday Armageddon" by local television stations, is approaching Western Washington.
When it arrives, a foot or more of snow throughout the Puget Sound lowlands is possible. Please be prepared for the following likely developments:
1. In an apparent early bid for the 2018 Winter Olympics, the City of Seattle (motto: No, We Can't) will swiftly turn most hilly city streets into bobsled/luge runs by refusing to apply salt to streets, citing concerns about the salt eventually mixing with the saltwater of Puget Sound. It's the first phase of an innovative green-city plan that eventually will preclude the use of piped water to fight fires, out of concern that it might eventually mix with groundwater.
2. Hopes of Seattle residents that streets are finally about to be cleared will be summarily dashed when they realize the city's giant plow trucks are actually fitted with plow blades made of environmentally sensitive hemp lace doilies.
3. Mayor Greg Nickels, D-Sodium Free/Carbon Neutral, will schedule a news conference to declare Seattle's response to the Arctic Plunge an "unqualified success."
4. The U.S. Mail will stop. Cold. Dead. Completely. That package you were expecting with gifts for the kids? Fuggedaboutit. Did you fail to see the asterisk chiseled into that "Neither snow nor rain nor ... " inscription on that NYC post office back in 1992? It's too dangerous to deliver the mail on slippery streets. Never mind if yours is bare, dry, completely sanded and lined with aromatic candy canes. You're not getting your stuff. Understand?.
5. Garbage will pile up for so long that it eventually will compost itself.
6. Successful United Parcel Service deliveries will occur in inverse proportion to how badly you need the stuff being delivered. Customers clicking on tracking numbers will see lots of verbiage about "natural disasters." What can brown do for you? In December, not a helluva lot.
7. Computer network servers hosting the "Where's My Stuff?" data for Amazon.com will heat up, begin to smoke and burst into flames. The company will quickly install a helpful new customer-service Web site feature, "Where the $(#@&! is My !@*$#% Stuff?" to take its place.
8. Hundreds of articulated Metro buses will jackknife in the middle of local streets, where they shall lie in state, like rotting whale carcasses, until skunk cabbages begin to grow out of their wheel wells in the spring. The short buses will run only on routes far, far from your neighborhood and place of work.
9. Alaska Airlines, apparently unaccustomed to flying in places where it's cold, will run out of de-icer when the entire month's supply — contained in a dented stainless steel Thermos bottle carried into work by a nonunion contractor — is exhausted within the first five minutes of the snowstorm. Customers will be urged to rebook flights online, where they will be directed to call an 800 number, which will tell them to book online.
10. Greyhound, taking customer service to a level rarely seen outside North Korea, will shut down all its buses, citing the danger to drivers and passengers. Several dozen passengers stranded in the downtown Seattle bus station will be shoved out into the snow at terminal closing time, then jeered and pelted with iceballs by Greyhound employees going home to their warm houses at night. No refunds will be issued.
Passengers eventually will get out of town by chartering their own buses, which will employ innovative, newfangled devices known as tire chains.
11. Gas stations throughout the region will quickly run out of gas, but will remain open to serve you a delightful 48-hour-rotary-wheeled Jumbo Dog, or a pack of gum to chew as a means to keep warm as you spend three nights in your Suburban.
12. You might not get your newspaper on time. Hey, if it's too scary for the Post Office to swiftly complete its appointed rounds, it's too scary for us.
Which means some of you won't see this until it's really, really too late. Which makes us wonder if it's even worth bothering.
Nevertheless, to all you folks online and elsewhere: Merry Christmas.
And pray for rain.
Ron Judd: 206-464-8280 or at email@example.com
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