Not To Be Trusted With Knives

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Trapped In Surrey!

The weather forecasters claimed that while we would get some snow this morning, it was going to be rain by midday and thus the snow would be washed away by the time I had to drive home1. Weather forecasters, as it turns out, are filthy, filthy liars.

Apparently when they built the new Port Mann Bridge, they didn’t test it for what happens when it snows. And apparently what happens when it snows is that giants chunk of ice fall off the bridge wires onto the cars on the bridge, shattering their windshields. Shattering windshields are generally considered to be a not good thing and during a snowstorm, doubly so. So they closed the Port Mann Bridge. Which made everyone on Earth head over to the Patullo Bridge, which is the bridge that I need to cross to get home from my office. Here, I drew you a map, since I have time to kill because, did I mention, I’m trapped in Surrey?

Trapped in Surrey Map

As you can see from Figure 1, I’m trapped in Surrey.

When the workday ended, the word on the street traffic radio was that with the Port Mann closed, the Patullo was backed up and it was taking about an hour to get across the bridge. Usually it takes me about 20 minutes to get from my office to home. Not being a fan of sitting in traffic, I decided to do a bit of shopping to wait out the traffic2. When I was done my shopping however, the word on the street traffic radio was that it was now taking *two* hours to get across the bridge. So I did what any traffic hating person would do – I got me some Indian take-out and headed back to my office. My office has a heater, the Internet, and ready access to chocolate and tea. If you are going to be stranded somewhere, those things make it a little more palatable.

OK, I’ve just checked in with Google Maps traffic and traffic radio and both are telling me that cars are actually getting across the Patullo now, so I think I’ll venture out. Wish me luck!

  1. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – snow belongs on ski hills and in my last name and nowhere else. []
  2. I also had a WagJag coupon for the Le Chateau Outlet, which is right beside my office, that expired today, so that kind of worked out well. []

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Traffic Is For Suckers

Traffic in VancouverThe one – and I do mean *one* – good thing about living where I do is that I’m close to my office. Like 5 minutes away1. And it’s awfully nice to finish work at 4 pm and be home at 4:10 pm2. The only problem with my commute happens on days when I have meetings in Vancouver, because living in the ‘burbs means that if I have to get to Vancouver for 9 am, I’m going to be stuck with the eleventy billion suburbanites commuting into Vancouver. And I *hate* sitting in traffic, wasting gas as we inch across the Alex Fraser Bridge at a snail’s pace. So, when I do have meetings in the big city, as I do today3, I leave my house at 6 am to avoid the lion’s share of the traffic and then find myself a nice little coffee shop to sit in and do some work4 until meeting time. I mean, if I’m going to have to just be sitting there, I’d rather be sitting in a comfy chair in a coffee shop than sitting in my car getting stressed out. This does require me to get up extra early in the morning – not my favourite thing to do – but the trade off of not having to sit in traffic makes it totally worth it.

Image Credit: Posted by Mark Woodbury on Flickr.

  1. Although sometimes it can take upwards of 20 minutes when there are idiot drivers in the way. []
  2. It takes a few minutes to pack up and such. []
  3. And as I did last week []
  4. Or, in this case, write a blog posting! []

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Things I Do To Keep Myself Entertained In Traffic

  • When there is a slow driver impeding my progress in the fast lane1, I wave my hand and say in my best Jedi voice, “This is not the lane you want to drive in.”2
  • Dance party in my car

That’s pretty much it.  Thankfully, I have *a lot* of dance music on my iPhone – I have it for running, but it’s also helpful to keep me cheery when I’m stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic because someone decided it was a good idea to do road construction during rush hour.

  1. why do people insist on driving slowly in the fast lane? I mean, what do they get out of it? Surely they must get something out of it, since they do it ALL. THE. TIME. []
  2. Note: this worked once, where the slow driver changed lanes exactly in time with my hand wave. Unfortunately, it has never worked since that time, despite me trying it again and again and again []

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One Of Those Days

So last night I thought it was a good idea to stay late at work to finish something up. “Class doesn’t start ’til 7 p.m., so I can stay at the office ’til 5 p.m. before I head out to UBC and still have plenty of time to grab some dinner on the way,” I thought. What I didn’t count on was that a semi-truck would fall over on the Nordel on-ramp to the Alex Fraser Bridge, meaning that traffic could only get by in the far left lane. Meaning that the 10 km trip from my office to the bridge, which usually takes about 10 mins, took an hour. Meaning that I didn’t get to class until right before it started. Meaning that I didn’t get any dinner! And just to add insult to injury, the vending machine in the building in which I teach was broken, so I couldn’t even get junk food for dinner! I also somehow managed to have two pens die on me during class, while I was furiously writing notes so that I could assign grades and give feedback to the students who were presenting1.

Thankfully, my students talked about pooh in their seminar (true story). Also, while trying to make the projector and sound system work, someone uttered the words, “Is it in the right hole?” and someone else replied, “That’s what he said!” And all was right with the world.

  1. mercifully, a student was able to lend me a spare pen! []