Web Log Entry #0008, Tuesday, November 19, 2002: Day 1
Anchorage Sunrise: 9:15am Sunset: 4:13pm High Temp: 34° Low Temp: 27°
While I slept the restless sleep of someone near an airport's flight path, it snowed. The sensitive, artistic part of my brain is thrilled with the clean, white coating glowing softly under the early morning streetlights. The pragmatic side says "Don't slip in the parking lot! Scrape the windshield! There's a layer of ice on the roads now! BE REALLY CAREFUL!!" The car had about two inches on it, and since it hadn't thawed at all, scraped off easily. I remember why people BACK into parking spaces here. Still, the moment comes where the car is warmed up, the widows mostly clear, and I can't put it off any longer. I shift into 'drive', and head out. The roads aren't bad. Traffic has mushed the ubiquitous gravel into the snow, making a grungy, slick layer of "permamuck." I drive very slowly, but still have a moment when a stoplight turns amber, I hit the brake and the car turns into a sled, heading for the center of the intersection. A quick strategy change with the accelerator gets me through. I'm thankful nobody was in front of me.
Put in a full day at work, my first in a long time (since early May, if I remember correctly). Learned more about what I'm going to be doing. I'd like to say it's exciting, top-secret stuff, but one of the first things they teach people doing top-secret work is to tell everyone that their work is really boring, so nobody gets suspicious. My job is tracking and cross-checking the flow of conversion detail documents between us and a government agency.
Did some shopping at Fred Meyer after work (for those unfamiliar, Fred Meyer is a chain of one-stop shopping stores that originated in Portland). Aside from the dog-sled section in the parking lot, the Anchorage Freds is just like the ones at home. The familiarity is comforting. I got a little confused on the way back south, and ended up on the highway (Highway 1, that is (Can you guess how many highways go through Anchorage?!)). I'm a modern, urban guy, so I'm not scared of highways in general, but the speed limit is 65 through town, and Alaskans don't bother to slow down for the layer of permamuck on the highway. I take the next exit, which is past where I want to be. Still, in Anchorage one is never far from anywhere else, and I have a map. I carefully drive side roads back to the safety of the hotel.
Okay, so grocery shopping and getting on the highway don't SEEM like big adventures, but that's enough for me today. I finish ironing the clothes that got all wrinkled on the flight up, and visit with Mr. Television for a couple hours. The hotel cable doesn't include "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," which is a great disappointment. I make do.
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© 2002 Evan M. Nichols