Thanks to tonight’s MEGA WINTER STORM (#avery #winterstormavery #whydowenamethestorms) I am stranded at a Sheraton in Stamford. Because, obviously, when a storm hits, one wants to go for as much alliteration as possible when seeking shelter.
I had to go on my last ever trip to my Connecticut based bank client today. This required driving, because I had to go to “Real America”, aka Not NYC. And despite my best efforts to leave sooner, I found myself on I-95 right as the storm hit the area around 4pm. I watched as my time to home on Google Maps went up…and then refused to go down again. Despite two hours of driving, the time to home stubbornly stayed at over three hours, just with a continuously later arrival time.
Eventually traffic just…stopped. I sat there watching the snow get heavier, and realized: I was equipped to drive in the worsening conditions in the SUV I was upgraded to this morning at the rental car location. The other vehicles around me might not be as well equipped, and my SUV would not be immune to other cars or trucks sliding into it. That was when I gave up, pulled off the highway, and sought a hotel.
It is not lost on me how fortunate I am to be able to do this. First of all, I can likely expense this back to the client since I was asked drive to them on the day of a major storm. Second of all, if the client is not amenable to the expense, I can afford a $200 hotel room. My time getting home also isn’t critical: I have my husband to take care of our son so I’m not needed at home until I can get back tomorrow, and even if Paul also got stuck in the storm, Ben could go to any of a half-dozen neighbors or friends locally as part of our Brooklyn child raising village. I have the sheer luxury of being able to put my own safety and wellbeing first and procure a hotel room instead of slugging through the storm. I’m grateful that my path in life put me in a position to be able to make a night like this a little easier on myself.
Also: I left the house yesterday! I did a bunch of things that reminded me of what it was like to have kinetic energy, instead of being dragged down by inertia working at home. I even managed to socialize a bit, seeing a dear friend for a quick catch-up and then going to a Canadian college alumni event to say hi to the two or three people I knew from other Canadian gatherings, and pick up the latest UBC Alumni swag:
I’m not sure when my alma mater started handing out swag notebooks and pins for an alumni association, but I’m happy to have it as a conversation starter in work meetings. Why yes, it’s a real school!
Sadly when I go to a college alumni event, it’s difficult to share memories of university. UBC is huge, and the experiences differ radically. I have yet to meet anyone who has even a Venn diagram overlap with my memories: most of the alumni I meet at expat events are younger than I am, and many are Business school graduates, not Arts majors. I also graduated in 2003, and the defining event of my last two years was my participation in the Arts Undergrad Society and Arts County Fair. With that major annual event having been defunct for (yikes) eleven years (shut down in 2007), I haven’t met a lot of fellow alumns who share memories of it.
However, there are still plenty of things I’m sure I could talk about with UBC alumni. Memories of the old SUB, for example! The many drinking establishments on campus! The wide range of actual academics! Vancouver in general! I mean, how lucky were we to go to school in such a beautiful setting, attached to such an incredible city? But last night I was just so tired after a day of being outside of the house, from having taken Ben on a school tour, gone to the office, gone to the dentist, met a friend for coffee, done a spin class and walked the ten blocks from the gym to the event…now that I think about it, no wonder I lacked enthusiasm for reminiscing about UBC. I’ll have to try again at the next expat event on Monday.
Meanwhile, I’m rapidly running out of energy, here in my now cozy hotel room in Stamford. Being warm. Having unlimited access to heat. Also something I’m thankful for. May all people be so fortunate on a night like tonight.