Sunday, January 30, 2005

just call me sir edmund

Had there been any one there to see the sight, it would have been a sight to see: Yesterday I crawled to work on my hands and knees.
Before continuing the tale, I ought to clarify that I am no martyr or glutton for punishment—just a na├»ve soul stuck with an odd situation and trying to figure out how best to remedy it. A storm over the weekend left treacherous ice on the roads Saturday morning, and as I was to head up the mountain to open the library, I was pretty sure it would not be very welcoming up there.
Sure enough, a 6:00am call to the mountain police department left me with a stern “Do NOT try to come up the mountain until at least Noon—it is solid ice!” So, I told the first shift student worker not to come in, and told the second that I would have it open at 12:00.
The drive up the mountain consisted of a couple of veering around fallen trees or glaring patches of ice, but nothing me and my grandma car couldn’t handle. Turning in to campus, however, I gasped at the sight. Approximately ½ inch of solid ice covered everything in sight—from cars to pebbles of gravel to blades of grass. One car was precariously tilted over the guard, partway down the hill after sliding over the ice-covered barrier. Another, icicles hanging from rear-view mirrors and between the tires, was diagonally halted in the middle of the drive, apparently abandoned before careening out of control.
Thankfully, I realized I had just entered a skating rink, barely in time to—very slowly—back out before I lost control. I stopped the car in the middle of the entrance, stepped out, and took a deep breath as I surveyed the scene. Somehow, I had to make it up the hill and to the library.
Parts, I realized, were relatively manageable. Where there was grass, I found I could make an odd animal-like walk, ramming my heels into the icy blades in large, cumbersome steps. Doing this allowed each footstep to grip decently and I managed to make ridiculously slow but sure progress. A vision of myself as an ice-climber flashed in my brain as I went, and I imagined that I was hacking my way up a towering icy cliff.
But then, I came to the steps. This is when I dropped to my knees and gripped each rail—wincing slightly as my gloveless hands clung to the ice. As my knees had no grip on the rounded steps of ice, I just pulled myself up rail by rail. Eventually, I made it to the top. I rested for as long as I could stand to and then gave myself a little pep talk for the tight-rope-style walk across the pavement to the next “safe” stretch of grass.
At any rate, in this slow fashion of alternating between clawing my way up the hills, clamping my way through the grass, and, yes, falling, I made it. The library was opened—hopefully to be well-used that day. It better have been hopping with studious activity!
Mind you, by the time I had finished opening up, and the desk coverage had arrived to take over, I was not interested enough in its use to wait around and see. A slow hour-long drive later, I was ever so glad to be off the mountain. Oh yeah, and there was also that getting back to the car part of it all. My knees being sore, and it being downhill this time, I just plopped down on my behind and I slid, making perfectly ladylike sound effects all the way.

2 comments:

Julia said...

You were right. It made me laugh. Anna, I think your true vocation would be one that could combine your library skills with your rugged, devil-may-care outdoorsiness. Maybe if Yosemite opened a library...

By the way, who is sir edmund?

Anonymous said...

Oh Anna, you're crazy. Don't do that again! If the weather is that bad, you should stay home. It sounds like quite an experience and the pics were really cool. I can just see you sliding down the hill on your bum, going "wweeee" or something like that.
And for Julia, I think Sir Edmund Hillary was the first to reach the summit of Mt. Everest.
-Helen