I’m about a month late sharing pictures of this, but the pictures are snowy and it’s winter now and it’s done nothing but rain in Seattle for the past month. What wasn’t so pretty was the commute the night before. Watching the conditions outside of work worsen, I chose to leave for home early at about 3:30. Four and a half hours later, I arrived at home freezing cold with a full bladder and an offer for a free knife-sharpening.
Let’s back up a few hours to my first 10 minutes on I-5 South. I was excited because the roads were clear of ice and traffic and I was able to make better time than usual. Then I met up with the traffic jam that I would later find out was caused by a truck that jack-knifed right in front of my exit. I was at a virtual standstill for the next 2.5 hours until I finally reached my exit. Unfortunately, the exit goes up a small hill before descending and I could tell I’d need to keep my speed up or else. I sped up and got almost to the top of the hill when I saw that two semi trucks were stuck and completely blocking the road. I had to stop and quickly realized I was stuck. I got out of my car to see that nobody was helping anybody. Lots of cars were stuck on the not-so-steep incline and it wouldn’t have taken much pushing to unstick them, but nobody was willing to help. I helped push a Japanese man’s BMW and he drove a little ways before getting stuck again and deciding to abandon his car. He helped me get my car up to the apex of the hill and had me convinced that I too should abandon my car and try to walk home. He didn’t speak English very well, so it took a long time for us to realize that we only lived a couple blocks from each other. After walking about a quarter-mile and noticing that it was literally all down hill from there, I decided to make a go of it in my car. I offered the Japanese man a ride home so he wouldn’t have to walk home alone and he seemed torn about whether to get his car or not. He decided to ride with me and I found out that he owns a knife-shop in Seattle and in return for giving him a ride home I was welcome to come in any time and get a free knife-sharpening. Unfortunately in the excitement, I failed to get the name or location of his shop. We both made it home safely after an eerie drive through empty streets and abandoned cars. Apparently we both were lucky to have made it home at all that day. The news was full of stories with less happy endings.
The next morning was beautiful. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and the ground was completely covered in a blanket of fresh snow. My wife and I went for a short walk around the neighborhood to capture a few pictures. I was excited to try the cold-proofing on my new K-7 and sure enough the camera didn’t break when it got out in the cold. Ok, I don’t think it was cold enough for any camera to have trouble, but it was fun shooting with a “cold-proof” camera in the snow.
The lesson from all of this: when everyone around you is struggling, be sure to help at least one of them. After I got stuck, I was refused help by two other motorists who were both literally spinning their wheels. My Japanese friend and I both made it home safely because we helped each other. Perhaps the news following the storm wouldn’t have been so grim if only a few more commuters had done the same.