It was a dark and stormy night …
Well, it wasn’t quite dark yet, but it sure was stormy and as soon as I left my front door I knew it was a mistake not to have more layers and my proper winter boots. But I was going to a pub, and wanted to look cute, and well, my brown leather boots are way, way cuter than my waterproof winter boots.
As I make my way to the bus stop it becomes immediately apparent that THIS IS INSANE. My hood is blown onto my face so many times that I’ve just given up seeing the horizon. Or anything other than my feet, for that matter. I focus on putting one foot in front of the other and keeping my hands in my pockets.
BUZZ. I get a text. I take out my phone, make a quick reply that I’m en route, and quickly hide my hands in my pockets again. I justify that I’ll pull my mittens out only when I need them, because I only have so many layers on hand and I don’t want to use them all up. Then I’ll be so cold and without a solution.
I stand at the bus stop, alone. There is a half shelter, but its not doing much protecting because the wind is blowing in all directions. I’ve never seen anything like it. Snow is everywhere. You can’t stand with your back to the wind because that isn’t even a thing that exists.
BUZZ. Another text. Quick reply.
The bus should’ve been here by now. I watch as 4 cars skid by on the now 15cm of snow that has accumulated on the road. This is a real snow storm, no doubt about it. I start to laugh a little at the absurdity of it all.
BUZZ. Quick reply. Buzz. Quick reply. By the fifth reply I realize I cannot feel my thumb or index finger.
NOT GOOD. I quickly grab my mittens. Their warmth envelopes my hands like a mothers womb. I’m so grateful. I want to look up the temperature on my phone but it’s way too fucking cold. (I would find out later that it was -20 anyway; I don’t think knowing would’ve made me feel any better …).
20 minutes later, still no bus. A figure approaches in the distance and a friendly-looking girl stands beside me in the “shelter”. Having been completely alone in a snow storm for 20 minutes, I lose control of myself and say, “THANK GOODNESS YOU ARE HERE. I thought I was alone in this.”
“Nope,” she says, “this is pretty insane though. Bus should be here any second.”
I nod, earnestly believing her. She’s a real Ontarian, I hypothesize. She checks bus schedules before she goes to the bus shelter during a snow storm.
Must write that down for the future, I think. Suddenly, her phone rings. Due to the aforementioned numb fingers, I’ve been ignoring the constantly buzzing of my phone for about 15 minutes now. She is braver than I, and answers:
“Hey babe. What?! WHAT?! Oh, nothing … just standing at the bus stop in a snow storm. What are you doing?”
When she hangs up I mention to her that that was the most Canadian thing I’ve ever heard anyone say. She talks about how her boyfriend in Korea has no concept of these things. I tell her she should be careful with her fingers in the cold. I kind of want to hug her for warmth, but that’s definitely crossing the line and I’m not looking for another mistake tonight.
Another figure approaches in the distance. The shadow slowly becomes a small woman in her 40s. She smiles. “OH HI! Bus should be here any second girls. This is CRAZY!”
Yes. This was crazy.
The bus finally did come and I didn’t even look at the number. All buses go to the pub, and this one was packed, moist, and smelly – basically, warm and perfect.
I make it to campus, meet a friend, and we RUN to the pub as fast as we can. We have to take a break in one of the buildings because of the insane snow assault and because I can’t feel my feet. When we make it into the pub, I decide quietly to myself that I’m never leaving this pub ever again.
We have lovely time watching the game, and despite the weather there are several people there. When Seattle loses, we begrudgingly load our layers back on. I take a photo for good measure (just in case we never see each other again), and our group of 5 splits up. Three of us walk to the bus stop.
By this time we’ve had a few drinks so things seem a bit more tolerable at first. How quickly this changed. At one point I just scream a little because I can’t see due to intense snow INSIDE MY EYEBALLS. A hand grabs me and pulls me forward. I decide that I’m never leaving the house ever again.
It’s now -30 in the wind. And in Hamilton, it’s always windy.
We finally make it to the bus stop, and luckily for me a bus comes immediately. I hop on and enjoy the luxury of heat until I get to my stop. As I make my way into my home, I pause for a second to look back at the main road that I live on. The GO bus is stuck on the hill. People are running red lights. There must be at least 20 cm of snow on the road itself. Some guy yells, “I’m stuck! What the hell do you want me to do about it?!” and waves his hands frantically. I see a limo, a jeep, and a truck fish tail.
It’s still snowing EVERYWHERE. I take a quick video to prove to myself that this wasn’t all just a dream, and hurry my freezing butt inside.
Why do I live here again? Oh ya. I want to be a midwife.