Okay, I admit it – I complained about not being able to see snow ever since moving to Georgia. But like most parts of the country, Atlanta did not go unscathed by this winter’s relentless fury. Oh no, no, no. If there is one thing I’ve learned from my 12 hour commute from work yesterday, it is that Atlanta + Snow = Complete Insanity.
Now cutting my new city a little slack, it’s not like snow happens often here and this is definitely not a place accustomed to getting actual inches of it. By 1:00 pm, it was hitting the metro area hard. Anyone that has ever driven through Atlanta knows the pit in the cherry is our traffic and bad weather never makes things better. But an added ingredient you don’t typically get with a rainy day is this: All of the schools let out early and at the same time. Most businesses (mine included) closed early too. On top of this, you had folks who were already trying to get from point A to B and panicking when the sky started shedding dandruff. When you put that all together in your traffic mixing bowl, you get:
I’ve experienced the horror known as the daily commute quite a bit now. But when I left work around 1:15 pm, I had no clue what really awaited me. I figured at worst, I’d be home around 7:00 that night. I ended up walking through my front door a little after 1:00 am – a literal twelve hours later. So what happened in those twelve hours? I bonded with my fellow Atlantans for hours in grid lock traffic so comically bad I half expected someone to yell “cut!” and a benevolent director to end our misery. I did the moonwalk with another driver when we both discovered our cars just couldn’t make it up a tiny hill and coasting back to the bottom was the only way either of us were going anywhere. I became increasingly thankful for my GPS after needing to change course four times because of road closures due to ice and/or wrecks. I helped push the car in front of me so they could move…and then needed someone to push me. I learned car mats placed under your tires quickly become more valuable than gold when you’re spinning on ice.
In the end, the fuel light came on when I was little over 10 minutes from home and I managed to pull into an office parking lot. I’d been trying desperately to make it to a gas station at that point and was just a couple blocks away from one (note: I actually did have almost a full tank before this epic journey began). But another round of gridlock and the sound of sirens lay ahead so those supposed 10 minutes would have equaled who knows how many more hours. So, I locked up the car and abandoned ship. I walked and my wonderful, awesome husband trekked through winter wondercrap to escort me home. On that slow journey by foot, I saw Powers Ferry a complete parking lot in most spots, a mini van trying to fight its way off the median, a handful of people trying to direct a school bus (yes, a school bus – no kids on board) that got stuck while attempting a turn in the intersection, and a tractor trailer trying what appeared an utterly doomed attempt at straightening itself out.
But among all the hair pulling and lost patience, there were little glimmers of light. I witnessed a group of students (I wish I knew which university) pushing cars that had spun out on Hammond Road. The news radio station I stayed glued to reported a father delivered his baby in their car and both mom and new daughter were well. Perhaps most the random thing I saw was the woman and four kids going around and offering hot chocolate to stranded motorists (my best guess is they must have been a family that lived close to one of the streets we all played ice capades on). For those with no hope of making it to a hotel or home, a lot of grocery stores and other businesses just let people spend the night.
So even when winter dished out its worst, Good Samaritans still existed and blessings were abundant. And today involved some well deserved exploration of a rare snow-covered Georgia with our cat Gizmo. That all being said, I think I’m pretty good on the snow thing now.