Today… risking life and limb on the Icerink of Sudden Death in order to make it to work! With the week’s supply of cheap rip-off pot noodles I forgot to bring when it was less slippery, woo! Now, should I put them all in the rucksack so as to have my arms free to balance, or should I load them into poly bags so as to lower my centre of gravity? Decisions, decisions.
It wasn’t so bad out there. Well, half the journey wasn’t so bad; it was down to bare tarmac already. The other half was sheer, slick ice, made more slippery by the light drizzle, and every second step I could feel my heel sliding from under me. Which terrifies me. Do not tense up, woman, you will only go arse over tit faster…
Of course, right after I arrived at work, the drizzle changed to big flakes of snow. Bigger and brighter and whiter all the time. Woo!
Then the rumours started arriving at work. Do not travel to work unless it is essential! said the radio. Right. Is that, ‘essential’ as in, ‘people will die if I don’t go’ or just, ‘my boss will hit the roof if I don’t go’? Besides, I am already here! We even have nearly a full crew today! Meanwhile, people were getting sent home from other hospitals left and right. Northside is shut, muttered some. I have a friend who’s been turned back within the city limits, trying to drive to East Kilbride. Everyone in our department’s abandoned the rival hospital already.
Corks. But there was worse news in the offing. My Colleague Who Is Getting A New Name Just In Case (in case of what, will be revealed momentarily) came through and announced to my Cellmate (she has stopped talking to me unless a kettle ‘needs’ filling)… that she has applied for the vacancy left when the Boss went back to Australia.
Seriously, this woman already acts like I’m some sort of lady’s companion out of Victorian times (the sort of arrangement where, in return for lodging and food, a lady of leisure but no actual Friends could have someone to do embroidery with her, accompany her on travels and never speak out of turn. Indentured frienditude!) In return, I’m finding even pleasantries difficult, and despite my efforts at affable/neutral, I bet it shows. This is when we’re at the same level! If she actually became the boss of me… I can’t imagine how awful my working life would become. I mean, I could be totally wrong here, but she doesn’t half strike me as the type to become drunk on the smallest dose of power and jackboot so hard we’ll need new floors by summer. For one thing, she speaks constantly (to my Cellmate) of how she is a Nice Person who avoids confrontation… and of the names on her list of People To Get Revenge On. I have no earthly doubt I’m on there somewhere, since practically everybody appears to be.
This will not do. I might have to apply for the damn job myself, and I don’t know a thing about managing staff across five hospitals. Or, have a car. Oh wait, neither does my Colleague of Empty Kettles. Still. Good news, this is not.
I do, however, have a couple of aces up my sleeve. Let us wait and see if they are really jokers.
By lunch, my Cellmate was looking at the snow and making worried noises, while my Colleague of Skull Scarves was phoning the Megaboss to try and find out what we should do. The Megaboss had, so rumour has it, already fled to try and make it back to the hills ahead of the weather (not to mention, everyone else who had started fleeing at eleven in the morning), and her secretary is on leave. So there we were, with no orders, cut off! It’s just like Vietnam, except with more snow and less Agent Orange!
Leave no man behind! I shouted. Y’all clear out home before it becomes impassable, I will hold the fort! I mean, cover the phones! This had logic behind it – my Colleague of Skull Scarves had to go get her son cos the school was shutting, and my Cellmate had a long drive ahead of her, and none of the roads were cleared. Chances were, however, that I could stomp along in this lot more easily than I had on the ice this morning, go figure.
It was not to be. My Cellmate and Colleague of Skull Scarves insisted that I down tools with them, in case I ‘died out there’ (lads, I have thermals on, it is only a couple of miles). It was very sweet of them, but the lift home did take, well, longer than it would have on foot. (In the effort to leave no man behind, my Cellmate and I went to see if we could at least give my Colleague of Empty Kettles a lift most of the way to hers, but her door was locked and when we went around, we could see her light was out, which is not something she ever switches off over lunch. How very odd. Has she just buggered off without telling anyone? If so, when?)
There was a bonus to my getting a lift, however – we went out and instantly got snarled in a massive traffic jam, which only evaporated when everyone ahead of us turned round and went the other way. My Cellmate didn’t know an alternative route, but I did, bwahahaha, so I navigated us – painfully slowly, but without mishap – through the snow to the mainest road there is and lo, that was covered in snow too, but we did crawl along it to safety, well, as far as the roundabout, where I bailed. I have never seen so many people on foot in my neck of the woods except for Orange Marches, it was like a drawn-out parade. One of them rescued my glove, even! Awww!
And here I am, home half an hour before normal tools-down. I wonder, will we get in trouble?
Maybe not, seeing what everyone else is going through – my martial arts instructor was telling the internet in tones of icy fury (given the impeccable spelling throughout) that he’d been stuck on a fairly short and major artery of the city for four hours, and other people were describing walking from the centre to East Kilbride. Jesus H, that’s Potential Death territory (the walk, not East Kilbride). I am so, so fortunate in my commute.
Since it felt like a Proper Holiday, I shovelled snow for the neighbours, stuck on a CD of Christmas carols, made a butternut squash and pearl barley risotto, and watched the sun set. Darkness, which arrived at four in the afternoon, hee, brought an eerily-lit freezing fog that was quite superb to see. The park over the road was glowing. And out of focus.
It also brought an impressive drop in temperature – oh good lord, people are still stuck out there. Again, fortune was on my side, for I have this sussed, now – thermals, jammies over the thermals, trackies over the jammies, flee to the south side of the flat, where giant cushions are stacked against the draft; and I still have the option of a giant hoody over the trackies and a dressing gown over that before I have to give up and go to bed in the effort to stay alive. And if that fails, the heating goes on.
Not tonight. I was toasty warm; well, enough so that my fingers would bend and let me get on with the sums. And the risotto tasted fab, but contained probably about fifty calories per serving, so despite the quantities, I spent the night starving hungry. Damn, finished the icecream last night! What do I have with a high sugar content – anything?
Dessert was haribo. Damn, today was quite successful up till the last hurdle.