Tag Archives: blizzard

The Snow, the Writer, the Time

Campus Snow Day

Yesterday started so safely. It was overcast and raining, but the roads were clear. By 11:00 AM, though, the city of Flagstaff was covered in snow and slush. Ponds sprouted in road dips and parking lots became marshes. Northern Arizona University cancelled all classes after 2:00 PM, after everybody was already on campus and desperate to get home. Students, faculty, and staff were told to leave before it got worse.

Com Building

I opted to stay on campus and not wait in the snow swamps amid dozens of tense drivers. I chose not to risk driving down Milton or Butler to get home, not wanting to wait ninety minutes because some inevitably bad drivers congested traffic after skiing their cars into each other. Instead, I found a warm corner on campus and set up shop with everything I needed: my computer, hot chocolate, a lengthy playlist of folk music, and a window giving me an unmitigated view of the snowfall.

Cline and Tree

I not-so-secretly harbor an obsession with snow. It’s often a subject in my writing. I’ve written many poems about snow alone, how it feels against my skin and glows under streetlamps. I’ve set numerous short stories in a mountain town in December, a Russian field in January, a Montanan cabin in February, or Flagstaff in March. Snow delights me immeasurably, and imposes an opportunity to sit back and do what I have so little time to even contemplate. When it snows so monstrously, I refuse to let the cold and darkness drag me down. Instead, I accept them as unexpected gifts. I don’t think sitting in front of a cold window improves my writing, but it often gives me direction and motivation. Yesterday, it forced isolation upon me, and isolation prompts writing. I’m grateful for being ushered indoors sometimes. Otherwise, I might never begin sewing the words together.


A Very Bad Night to Be Out

Karl has an unusual Wednesday when he first is invited to a cheesy dinner, then gets caught in a blizzard, and finally finds himself facing his archenemies, a person in a gorilla suit and the lost-and-found people.


October 6, 2011

It’s weird how things spiral out of control and then before you know it you’re locked in a building with drug dealing librarians. Maybe I should start from the beginning.

A chick from my German class, Sam, invited me to go hang out with a campus church group thing. I don’t remember what they’re called. Presbythodists or Luthiscopalians or something like that. Anyway, they hide out in this blue house type building behind a big parking lot behind the library. I’m not much of a church guy. I don’t have anything against them, and definitely not the way Maxwell and his herd of cynics do, or the goths I used to hang out with in high school who used to smoke in the parking lot of the Mormon Church. I’m not like those guys anymore, very much, really. It’s just that I’m not really like the church people, either. But Sam seemed nice about it, and she told me there’s free food and that I don’t have to get baptized first, so I decided to go.

                So I went with Sam and some other friends of hers who all wear plaid shirts to get dinner with the Luthodists or Methiscapalians or whateverites. They made these casseroles that must’ve been like eighty percent cheese, and these chocolate chip cookies that were only twenty percent cheese. The Chrisbytarians were nice enough people, but I gotta be honest, I’d never heard so many dirty jokes in my entire life. And not just profanity, either. I mean the really kinky stuff. Maybe they’re all just that comfortable or that liberal, but it was a little freaky to hear so much innuendo when there’s this big cross in the middle of the room. I was confused, but I was filled with cheese, so I was happy.

                Here’s where the story goes downhill. We got done like around 8:30 at night, and I was hoping to get back to Cowden before Todd (unless his name is Tom, and I’m starting to think it is) got there. If I get there first, he takes whichever girlfriend is with him somewhere else, which means I get to sleep in my actual bed and not in the hallway like all the other nights I get there too late. So I wanted to get there early. When I walked out the doors of the Methutherans or Methbrytarians or Methheads, I saw like two feet of snow! It snowed while I was eating casseroles. Can you believe it? And it was still snowing, like a thick blanket of snow that some jerk in the sky kept waving back and forth in front of me. I had an entire parking lot to get through to get back to Cowden, in the middle of a blizzard, in early October, in the “Dark Sky City” darkness. I couldn’t see in front of me, and I didn’t have a coat on or anything. How the hell does Flagstaff get away with crap like this? Flagstaff should be indicted for this sort of thing.

                Anyway, I started my trek back to the dorm, but because I couldn’t see anything except for snow, I bumped into a car in front of me, and the stupid alarm went off. So I did the first thing that popped into my head and ran away. At the end of the parking lot, I slipped on the snow when I was running and hurt my hip. The car alarm kept blaring at me until I reached the sidewalk where Cowden is to the right and the library is to the left. That’s when I saw the goddamned person in the gorilla costume walking toward me from the right, only the costume was covered in snow, so it looked like a zebra yeti, just sort of lumbering through the two feet of snow toward me.

 Maybe the car alarm angered the gorilla. Maybe it felt threatened when I walked into its natural habitat, in the middle of a university road at night during a blizzard. The person in the gorilla suit costume lumbered silently at me like some stealthy predator. I turned around and got out of the snow into this little pathway at the front of the library that’s protected by columns or pillars or collars or something like that.

                I ran, and my hip was throbbing from when I slipped, but I made it to the entrance of the library. When I looked back, the person in the gorilla suit costume was still lumbering toward me through the columned path. I went inside the library, got snow everywhere, and hid for a while in the little coffee shop restaurant thing they have on the first floor and started working on a paper for my rhetoric class, since I had taken my backpack with me to the church thing because I got out of rhetoric late. After a while I tried to get back to Cowden, but the snow outside was like four feet high. Plus, I saw the gorilla pacing around this statue of a dude on a stack of books they have outside the library. It was like the gorilla was waiting for me to come out to attack me.

                How the hell does NAU get away with four feet of snow and zebra yetis? It’s terrible. I went back into the library, which closes at two in the morning, I think, and did more homework and goofed around on the internet. Then things got weird. I was up on the third floor in the farthest corner of a room, when I looked up and saw Maxwell walk behind a shelf, stop for a minute, and keep going. After that, a librarian went behind the shelf, stopped where Maxwell had stopped, and kept going again. I was curious about what happened, and I know they all say that curiosity kills cats, but I wasn’t a cat, I thought, so I prowled my way to the other side of the shelves.

                On an empty shelf close to the ground were two very nicely rolled joints, or roaches. They were so nicely rolled, you’d think a professional had rolled them. I guessed the lost-and-found people worked with the librarians, and I guess Maxwell needs to supply his herd of cynics with joints. What I thought was strange was that they would miss two whole joints. It seemed weird for a business that was so organized to forget two whole joints. I figured they wouldn’t miss them, and I could maybe use them to bargain for something I might need, so I stuffed them in my pocket and went downstairs.

                When I walked to the second floor, I passed a janitor. I was going to check outside to see if the gorilla was still there, but when I was on the second floor, going toward a window, the same janitor came rushing by me, shouting on his cellphone. I think he didn’t see me. Anyway, the snow hadn’t stopped, and it was up to maybe twelve feet. It looked like twelve feet, at least. So I stayed in the library on the second floor, in the furthest corner I could find, hoping the janitor wouldn’t catch me. That’s where I am now. That’s where I’m writing this.

                Oh, and by the way, they shut the power off. It’s 2:30 in the morning, and they locked me inside. I can’t get out. I tried and the doors are all locked. I wonder if the gorilla had something to do with this. It’s dark. I’m cold. I want to go back to my dorm room where I don’t have to run away from gorillas and drug-dealing librarians. So that’s where I’m at right now. I hope you’re having a better night than I am.