I’ll admit it, I was more than a little surprised and confused when I saw a blizzard warning in the weather forecasts on Monday night.. Coz.. Blizzards? In Denmark? Really? .. And no, Steffen, just to clear things up once and for all and save you a few expenses, we’re not talking legendary game developer Blizzard here, or a new installment of Warcraft, we’re talking the snow + sleet + wind kinda Blizzard here.
But I digress, the fact of the matter is that for the first time in.. 33 years, I believe.. Danish weather services were issuing a blizzard warning.. Which left a lot of people in a state of panic.. And a lot of us in a state of “Pffft.. Right!” – because as far as blizzards in Denmark go, seeing is believing and while I’ve seen some pretty fucked up things in my life, a Danish blizzard isn’t one of them.. But still, as so many other people I went to bed on Monday night, well, Tuesday morning technically, with no uncertain air of excitement about me.. Partially because there was a good chance that the Rock Am Ring festival would announce new bands on the next morning – which didn’t happen, and partially because there was a chance of witnessing a potentially historic weather phenomenon on that same morning.. Were we going to go two for two on the didn’t happen front?
I woke very late Tuesday morning, reached for my laptop – as I do, go ahead and call me a geek – and checked my various news feeds, social networks and what have you.. I was surprised to see Facebook carry a surprising amount of “FUCK SNOW!!” comments which made me go huh? And eventually had me rolling up the blinds and inspecting the world outside.. And what did I see? SNOW!! … All two inches of it would be my best guesstimate, and a steady stream of it pouring down slowly but steadily and vertically from the sky. “Huh?” I thought again and flicked on the TV and caught an in-field reporter in the middle of an update from somewhere near by. I happened to catch him in mid sentence, but the essence was something along the lines of “.. really starting to come down now and things are absolutely chaotic, roads are closing, snow is blowing and it’s still just pouring down. It’s safe to say that the blizzard now has its steady grip on the western and southern parts of the country. Back to you whatsyourface!”
What’s pretty funny about the incident was that while watching it, you could see the snow coming down in the background of the shot in much the same steady yet unimpressive and vertical way that it did outside my window.. Which kinda has you wondering what constitutes a blizzard in Denmark and just went things can be considered chaotic? You really get the feeling that everything had been rolled out for massive coverage of a historic weather event and when nothing happened, well, come hell or high water they wanted their massive coverage, even if it meant having to overplay things.. Because, guys, really, let’s face it, a couple of inches of snow and a few gusts of wind doesn’t constitute a blizzard.. That’s like, Oh I don’t know, a quiet afternoon for most countries used to real winters.. But for it’s apparently “a major snow storm sweeping across the country and wrecking havoc in its trail” – Note to the media: There are a lot to be learned from America. Some lessons good, some bad. Sensationalism and an inherent ability to overplay everything isn’t on the side of good, really!
I spent some time sitting around waiting for things to get bette, and by better I guess I actually mean worse.. I guess you could say I was waiting for things to live up to the hype.. Which, surprise surprise, they never did.. Which I guess was good because I hate snow, really, in any quantity, so while the rest of the country were playing the snow hysteria game, I sat around all warm and comfy-like and thanked my lucky stars that this is all we got.. Because like most Danes, I have to pay for snow days if they keep me from going to work. And since I’m actually struggling to make enough money to pay off the debt on my student loans, I’d have to find some way of getting to work, regardless of the amount of snow. The fact that we didn’t get a fuckload of snow made this quest a lot easier, even if most of the public transportation grid shut down over the day along with many schools and some work places.. (Oh yes, we’re every bit as stupid as you’d expect us to be, we believe the media hype.. It’s a disturbing developing trend).
Luckily, the bus line that I was to take to work wasn’t one of those that shut down, so come 7:30 PM, I set off like I always do.. And that’s when things finally got at least a bit interesting in the weather department.
While we may have been cheated of the blizzard madness, we did get a fair amount of snow which was followed by a merciful but short spell of thawing, some sleet, rain and then a sudden plunge of temperatures back below freezing.. Add to this the fact that we’re starting to run out of road salt nationwide, and you can imagine what the roads must have been like.. An interesting, slippery and icy mess! Now, getting too work wasn’t too difficult, I was on a bus.. That’s not to say that scooting down hills and through bends in a 20 ton metal box was much fun.. But it wasn’t too difficult.. And I got delivered almost to the door at work.
Work itself was, well, a little more difficult, because in the shipping/logistics industry you kinda rely on things arriving on time.. And with everything outside a slippery, frozen mess.. Well, nothing arrived on time.. At all.. Meaning that we spent most of the night just sitting around, waiting, yawning, drinking coffee, doing a little bit of work every now and then, looking at the odd web page and doing whatever we could to stay awake. For me this entailed amongst other things looking at the composition, properties and molecular gastronomic uses of nori in the hope that I might be able to use it to solve a problem with a dish I’m working on.. But that’s just how I roll. My colleague Torben looks at cars, I look at algae, that’s one of the few aspects in which we differ from one another.
Eventually, at around 2 AM, after some work, much stalling, two pots of coffee and a lot of incoherent blabbering, we decided to give up waiting for our last miniscule shipment to arrive and stop talking the talk and instead walking the walk.. Because with the mess outside, that seemed the only reasonable thing to do. Torben hadn’t dared taking his car out for a spin that evening and with no one else around to drive us home.. Walking time it was.. Or more like skating time, really. Because once we got about 500 meters into the white, slippery icy mess I found myself wishing I’d donned skates rather than shoes because skating around was more or less what we did for most of the trek home. Well, we did have a good talk and a few laughs as well.. And hotdogs.. As we ended up feeling really sorry for ourselves and stopping at an all night service station to buy ourself some good, porky comfort.
Eventually we did part ways as Torben headed off the main road and towards his home and I trekked on a while as well down another not so beaten path.. And that’s where the zombie accident mentioned yesterday happened.. Or maybe it wasn’t a zombie accident.. I don’t know.. But it was freaky as fuck all, that’s for damn sure. What happened was this: I’m walking down this abandoned quiet residential neighborhood at like 3:15 in the morning, all is quiet and everything is completely whited out other than this little narrow stretch of sidewalk that’s been wiped clean. At some point I notice this shadow moving slowly towards me in a rather wobbly manner, but go like oh, well, whatever. It’s strangely common for me to bump into people who are on their way to work on foot at all sorts of weird hours in the morning. So I just press on until I get up close to this guy and it becomes evident that he’s just gonna press on and not take any notice of me, let alone move slightly to the right so both of us may use the sidewalk.. Eventually, I’m made to step out into the fresh dunes of snow in order to let the guy pass and as he does, I turn to him with an “ey, what the fuck?” which he responds to by groaning slowly, turning his head and staring at me with a look right out of a horror movie. I swear to God, this guy not only moved in a slow unresponsive kinda manner, he also looked EXACTLY like someone out of Dawn Of The Dead, right down to the glazed over eyes, weathered face and greasy unkempt hair..
Now, I know that there’s really no such thing as zombies outside of Haiti. We were obviously dealing with a mentally challenged and possibly visibly impaired human being.. But still, that look and that response was enough to make me go “Hell no, fuck this!” and forget all about my demand for an explanation and just move on.. Quickly.. Which wasn’t the best of ideas seeing as most of the rest of my way home was downhill.. And down a very slippery hill at that.. But I’m happy to report that despite straining something in my lower back and striking some, at times,very involuntary and awkward poses in an effort to stop me from slipping and falling on my ass, busting up my laptop and dropping my valuable hotdog load, I made it home rather safely and soundly not too long after.. Having survived not only a blizzard, but also a freeze-over and a possible zombie attack.. All in a day’s work! Whew.. Now I can’t help but wonder what today will bring.