“Wait, you’re taking a trip in the middle of finals??”
“I’ll be back before the paper is due!”
“What if something goes wrong? What if your flight is canceled or something?”
“That’s not going to happen.”
“It might. It snows there.”
“Not in Las Vegas. Nevada, sure, but not Las Vegas.”
Doesn’t snow in Austin either. But it does sometimes freeze, and when that happens, the whole town shuts down. I went out yesterday morning to run a few pre-Vegas errands and found that combined with the sleet and slightly-above freezing temps, everyone was driving slowly and carefully, fearful of the dreaded “black ice”. Still, it wasn’t that bad. I mean, I drove in it, and I don’t do the whole ice thing.
1:15 pm and I’m standing at the UT Shuttle stop, bundled up in jacket and scarf, as the temp has now dropped to freezing. There is another girl similarly dressed also waiting for the bus. Striking up a conversation, I say “Personally I think that when it’s this cold they should cancel classes”. “I agree!” was the reply. We board the bus and right before we arrive on campus, her cell phone rings. She completes the call and then says to me “Well, you got your wish”.
WHAT??? OK sure, it’s cold, but there is no ice, no rain, nothing. Why close UT early? Since I’m already on campus, I head off to my Spanish class anyway. It’s our last class before part one of our final, and a review would be beneficial. Campus itself is dead – no one milling about, and the few that are there are calling friends and family about the cancellation of classes. I find a few classmates outside our classroom, and we decide that we’ll wait it out and see if the professor shows up. That is, until someone mentions that the UT Shuttles will quit running shortly. Since that’s our way home, we decide to take off, commenting on how a University this size; one that holds the patent to predictive text messaging even, should really work out some sort of system where we all get a text if class is going to be canceled. Or, just light the tower blue.
We have a contest over who can light their cigarette first in the brutal wind, and share a hand warmer that was part of a care package from someone’s mom. I arrive home, still a little confused as to what the fuss is. I head out to run an errand while the roads are still clear. The temps are steadilily dropping, but it’s still dry.
That doesn’t last long. Early evening the sleet comes in again, and this time the conditions are just right for it to stick. My car is iced over, my patio chairs have a nice glaze of ice, I can hear the sounds of cars swerving on the roads, and the dog…well, the dog LOVES it. 23 degrees and windy? That’s time to play.
Things are expected to be back to normal tomorrow, with a late opening for UT planned. I wake up around 10, and then head outside with the dog. The grass is still frozen. The car and chair are still iced. The exit gate for my apartment complex has apparently frozen. There are wrecked cars in the parking lot. Dog? Still loving it. Mom? Not so much.
Given that it’s still obviously frozen outside, I wonder if UT is still opening as planned. I come inside and check the news. Closed. All day. Normally this would be a cause for celebration, an excuse to fire up Full Tilt and let check-raising a douchebag or two warm my little heart. But today it just creates fear and uncertainity. See, I had a final today, along with another test, plus a very important lecture I needed to attend so I could complete a final paper. When will these be made-up? Tomorrow? Monday? Neither one is good. I do have a flight to Vegas in a few hours…
After staying glued to my laptop for a few hours, awaiting any news from my professors, I finally get the information I need. Tests will be made up Tuesday. This is good news, yet my return flight was scheduled for Tuesday night. Off to Southwest to see if it can be changed. It can, but for money I don’t have. Enter the Princess. Taking on the role of knight in shining armor, she offers to pay for the change. I reluctantly accept, and promise all sorts of pay back once I get rich and famous.
So it’s on. I now have to go fight the horrible Austin drivers to complete my last few errands, but at least I get to spend my weekend in a much much warmer place. And I can’t wait.