Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Story 121: State of Emergency

            She woke up feeling strangely refreshed and rejuvenated.  Stretching, she strolled to the back door of her house and opened it wide, causing the icicles and mounds of snow to fall off the roof and avalanche at her feet.
            “Ahhh….” She breathed in that fresh -10°F air.  Nothing beats blizzard weather, she thought to herself.
            She ate her breakfast seated on top of her frozen picnic table as she listened to her favorite morning radio show.  “We barely made it to the studio today, under pain of termination…. This just in: the voluntary stay-off-the-roads is now mandatory due to the governor declaring a state of emergency.  You’re telling us this now?!”  She turned the radio off at that point – she hated it when things got political.
            After a brisk brushing-off of a foot of snow from her car, followed by an invigorating shoveling out of her driveway, she was ready to go.  The roads oddly were barely plowed at all, but that’s what four-wheel drive was made for.  First stop: town hall, where she had to dispute her property taxes, yet again.
            The parking lot was an eerie sea of white when she arrived and hers was the only car.  Perhaps everyone took a healthy walk to work today, she thought as she tried to open the locked entrance.  The building’s remaining doors were in the same condition, and no amount of banging on windows or throwing snowballs at walls got anyone’s attention.  Surely their work ethic wasn’t that poor that absolutely no one would come in to run the town today?  That kind of thinking leads to anarchy.
            Since official business was now a bust, she decided to take advantage of the mall’s super sales and headed that way.  She arrived an hour later than the normal commute took, after being pulled over three times with each cop kept insisting that no businesses were open and that she needed to go home.  She agreed with them so they’d leave, but she knew in her heart that they were mistaken: the mall never closed during super sales!
            The same sight that greeted her at town hall also greeted her at the mall: a sea of white, no cars, and locked doors.  She felt a bit put out – if she could make it there when it was snowing sideways and ice was forming on her face, why could no one else in the world demonstrate the same ability?
            It was getting late and the show at the local playhouse was scheduled to start soon, so she decided to forego driving back home to change into non-snow clothes and went straight to the theater instead, collecting two citations on the way and threats of arrest for her continual commutation.  Honestly, such a fuss over a few flurries, she mused as she strapped on her snowshoes to walk to the theater from the mini-mountain where she had parked her car.  Since no one was there to open the door for her admission to the show, she was forced to come to the conclusion that the play had been cancelled due to lack of attendance.  Hopefully, she would be reimbursed for this: after all, she was there; she couldn’t help it if no one else was.
            Back home after another citation and a police escort, she comforted herself in spite of her unproductive day by re-shoveling the driveway’s new two feet of snow and knocking the ice out of the roof’s eaves.  My word, she mused as she watched the trees and neighboring houses sway in the howling wind while she drank her tea in the kitchen and the power went out, people really do push the panic button much too frequently to get anything done around here.