176. Pre-Flight Drama

Pre-Flight Drama: There’s really nothing quite like a little local chaos to get the blood pumping before a long haul trip. We’re staring down something like 30 hours of travel from Portland to Auckland starting tomorrow – twenty of those hours in the air. We have bags to stuff, prescriptions to chase down, iPods to load and, of course, new summer gear to model. Because we’re about to fly into summer down under, suckers.

Amy: Look at these shorts I got!
Me: I don’t think I’ve ever seen you wear shorts.
Amy: I know, I never wear shorts.
Me: Well we’re married now so I guess there’s gonna be a lot of changes.

But bare winter legs and terrifically nonsensical new TSA regulations aren’t the only things in the air tonight, because at about 3pm this afternoon it started snowing. Big downy flakes that have Oregonians wandering the streets like honey-drunk sun bears, saying things that make Midwestern transplants cringe. “Now it feels like winter for real! I wish it was like this every day!”

But as always happens when snow falls on our leafy little flannelopolis: Snowtastrophe. By 5pm the city was predictably paralyzed. There are no plows, no salt, not even a gravel truck to be mobilized on short notice. Traffic was at a complete standstill. Buses seemed to vanish all together, stranding hundreds downtown. The trains were slow to come and when they did finally arrive, there was shoving and needling for scarce inches on board. I waited 45 minutes for a train, then another hour on the train as it crawled through the crush of bad decisions clogging every intersection. When I finally stepped off the train at my stop, my foot and heart sank into about four inches of flight delaying powder.

But now things are looking up again. Suitcases are filling, iPods are humming and a friendly man with tight curly hair is talking on the television about how the rain will melt the snow tonight and make our trip to the airport tomorrow a breeze. “You’ve got nothing to worry about,” he says directly to me. “West winds, high pressure, red arrows, rising thermometer graphic and bingo, you’re on your way to New Zealand.” Hey thanks, Matt Zafino. We couldn’t have done it without you.


  1. Claire says:

    Yay – you are back in action, and hopefully on your way to NZ. I missed your eloquence, humor and great pictures. I love "the crush of bad decisions clogging every intersection" I can just see it. Looking forward to more!

  2. Kevin says:

    You should pitch "Snowtastrophe '09!" to the local TV stations, instead of their usual "Winter Blast!" headlines.