Posts Tagged ‘weather’

That Time of Year

January 7, 2010

The Wilds of Ohio is in the midst of our first semi-significant snowfall of the season as I type this.  I say “semi-“ because we’re up to about two inches of an expected four inches of snow.  Comparatively not much to speak of*.

early on, before it started getting nasty

Nonetheless, always looking for a way to avoid work, I took up the battle cry – – “Roads of Death!”

I spoke on this here last year.  A standard I started in my office, gleefully embraced by the other workers here.

That battle cry is repeated often as the snow continues to fall.  I often add an extra tagline to that cry:  “Roads of Death!  A caring supervisor would let her workers go home early to avoid tragedy!”

I somehow hope that the mere implication of the supervisor being inconsiderate to our safety needs would create sufficient guilt that she would actually release us early**.

Success rate for this?  Minimal.  Yes, there have been times where the boss has let us go a bit early.  Those few instances are sufficient in and of themselves to continue the battle cry at the mere hint of any snowfall.

But even if there were no early releases to go home, I think we would all rally forth with the call – – “Roads of Death!”  It actually is a morale booster to some.

For me?  It’s just plain fun to be ornery like that.

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UPDATE EVEN BEFORE POSTING:  It worked!  I’m already home.  Now, the snow did come down a bit faster than anticipated…we already have some four inches on the ground.  But we were released a bit earlier by our manager than the rest of the folks.

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*I call ‘significant’ snowfall when we get 12 inches or more of snow in a 24 hour period.  Now those are FUN!

now that's some good, fun snowfall

**Now, to be fair, the supervisor is restricted by human resources’ rules and regulations to just how early they can release us in the event of snow.  And, typically, it really requires a call from corporate leadership to let us go.

Roads of Death

January 13, 2009

It’s that time of year again. When the cold winds of The Wilds of Ohio bring all forms of dreaded precipitation…all usually in the same storm – – rain, freezing rain, sleet, snow, cats, dogs, locusts, etc. And, despite valiant efforts by road crews to clear them, the roads usually become festive playgrounds for cars to slip and slide about.

icy conga line of dents

icy conga line of dents

This also usually means the drivers here switch over to “Idiot Mode”. There are two main ways this manifests.

Most will start driving over-defensively… even if there is plenty of traction, this form of idiot driver will immediately slow to walking speed. And get in the left lane. And the center lane. And the right lane. Aggravating.

A few will continue driving as if nothing happened. If the speed limit is 65 miles per hour? That’s the speed they go. And they’ll weave in and out of traffic to keep going that fast.

The accidents start happening when the over-defensive driver meets the under-defensive driver. An over-defensive driving at walking speed will pull slowly into the left lane to pass an over-defensive who’s driving at crawling speed not noticing that under-defensive is ripping up behind him at 65 mph. under-defensive, unable to weave into the next lane because crawler is there, slams on the brakes. Wheeee!!!! And you thought the Ice Capades had lots of spins and turns.

Now, I do admit to occasionally letting myself slip into idiot mode. Primarily the under-defensive, go fast guy. But that’s not often. I’d LIKE to think I’m a good, defensive ice and snow driver. When I was learning to drive, I was also working at the local regional airport. Now, don’t tell anyone (shhhh), but I would sneak onto the snowy runway*, get up some speed, and purposely try and put the car out of control (braking hard, turning tightly, combinations, writing bad checks…). Then, I could see what did or didn’t work to get the car back into control. It was great practice. Especially since I wasn’t caught…

And, finally, a word about winter weather from a work perspective – – –

Trying to find the good in this, I began a tradition in our office some 10 years ago. I was, and continue to be, pleased to see new people coming into the office quickly embracing that tradition. Basically, whenever the snow started to fall, or even hint at some freezing rain in the weather reports, people will start proclaiming loudly about the office: “Roads of Death! A good supervisor who cared about his workers would send them home early!”

Some of the new kids have even embellished on this. Some are simplistic, but effective, addition of qualifiers: “Icy Roads of Death!”. Others are more elaborate, but equally effective: “Yeah, I heard that the human resource branch already sent all of their people home!” I have actually seen supervisors consider the latter, trying to decide whether to send people home safely, without checking to see if human resources really did send their people home. Great fun.

Unfortunately, rarely have I seen bosses actually send us home early. Rather, they wait until the roads ARE impassable, then make the magnanimous decision to send us home. At which time “Idiot Mode” clicks on in many heads and the roads leading away from the parking lots become parking lots themselves.

Me? I’ll have another cup of coffee and wait for the snow plows to clear a path.

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*…okay, it was a smaller airport with not a lot of traffic on good days, let alone snowy days.