500 Words Per Day

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Snow Day Number... I've Lost Count Now

I watched the sky dump snow onto our hapless west coast metropolis for the better part of my 11-hour shift today. Listless, with hardly a thing to do but monitor agent statuses and line availability, I would trudge over to the reception area that overlooked the side street where I had parked my Camry.

Splotchy patches on concrete were replaced with muddy white accents until the entire street was covered in picture-perfect white snow. My car soon developed a soft ice cream coating and a low, fluffy fortress wall was later erected to apparently make my escape from work a trickier proposition.

I spied a few deckhands at the adjacent Acura dealership clearing out the driveway and became inspired to do something productive while doing nothing at work. After making another unnecessary sojourn to Starbucks, I waded through the white fields of tire treads and politely asked to borrow a shovel to pre-emptively extricate my car from captivity. With business non-existent, there was only the petite receptionist milling about the showroom floor. The branch manager was relegated to his watchful supervision of the service team, three men strong, as they industriously cleared the parking lot of every last shred of snow and ice.

I flashed my winning smile, gave a slight, knowing nod to the manager, and shovel was mine for the borrowing. Ten minutes and a slightly sore back later, I was back within the sauna-like ecosystem of my office. And still it continued to snow. I would tentatively peer out again from the reception desk, eyeing up the snow and wondering if I should have waited until the very last moments to borrow the Acura dealership shovel. I still had a solid three hours to kill and snowfall stops for no-one.

As it happened, my misgivings were unfounded. The upstairs office shut down a half hour before schedule, freeing me up to get a few precious extra minutes to remove a giant slab of snow and ice from atop my car. The journey back home was largely uneventful. The most notable observation I had was how sensibly everyone was driving. Even the entitled 4WD yuppy-mobile ahead of me was driving a lot slower than I myself was comfortable keeping pace with. Things got a bit dicier on the final approach to my apartment. A steep incline stretching for about 10 blocks, I built up exactly zero momentum coming off a plodding right-turn on a yellow light.

My tires were slipping all over my place, giving off the distinct sensation that my vehicle was not self-propelled but rather yanked along by a loose piece of string. As I triumphantly pulled to the curb outside my place, I realized that I was committed to the spot now. Another 5 centimeters would drop through out the evening with an another hefty dump forecasted for Christmas Day.

It was a rather small victory getting my car back home in one piece. My stubborn resistance to waiting and riding on an sopping wet, overcrowded and smelly bus challenged me to meet Mother Nature head on and emerge the champion. In your face, momma! Our east coast counterparts may scoff at our snowy conditions even now. To temperate Vancouverites like myself, the snow this year has been manly enough. I can't help feel just a little rugged for sliding and jiving my all-season equipped beater back home and no pedestrians or driver-side mirrors were killed in the process.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Posted Price is the Real Price. Imagine That.

I had got off the bus the other night and I was walking back to my front door when my world turned upside down. I live directly beside a Shell gas station so I'm privy to by-the-minute pump price fluctuations.

The 78.9 cents per litre sign enticed me into rolling up my car to top off the tank. Imagine my surprise when I saw laminated sign taped to all the pumps, boldy declaring that the post price of gas is the actual price at the pump.

Stunned. Speechless. Befuddled?

Finally, after all these years, the gas stations have done away with the charade of selling gas for 3 cents below the posted price. Someone high up must have finally come to their senses. Or perhaps this is just phase two of some diabolical plan designed to coddle us into a false sense of security.