The one predictable thing about Nashville weather is that it’s unpredictable. Maybe that’s why I rarely bother to check the weather report even though this sometimes means getting caught in the rain without an umbrella, although there are worse things to be caught without, like my bus pass or my pants, and then there was the time I’d ridden the bus halfway home before I remembered I drove to work that day, but that’s another story.
And then there was the January when snow was in the forecast but I can’t tell you how many times the weather reports have called to snow only to have a few scattered flurries, or to have the temperature shoot up to around ninety degrees. Celsius. That’s the South for you. It had started snowing when I set out for the bus but I was bundled up warmly and it didn’t look like it was going to amount to anything. Then again it never looks like it’s going to amount to anything. It’s only when snow starts blowing across the street that it looks like we’re in for nasty weather.
Oh yeah, it was blowing across the street when I set out for the bus, but I kept going. I’m an optimist.
I got to the bus stop but there was no bus and according to the schedule it wouldn’t be along for a bit, and even though bus schedules are about as trustworthy as weather reports I set out for the next bus stop a block away. Sometimes I get antsy just standing around at bus stops so I’ll walk down to the next bus stop—in the opposite direction of the way home, but I figure if the bus is coming toward me then I’m really getting closer to it, if that makes any sense. I’ve walked a mile or more, passing by at least half a dozen bus stops before I pick one and stop, afraid the bus will be just around the corner and I’ll be caught between stops.
The snow was really coming down and was getting thick on the streets. Cars were creeping by. Still I kept trudging on. I came to a hill where I could see a long distance. There was no sign of the bus. There was even less sign of traffic even moving. I decided to stop and wait. And I waited. More than an hour had passed since I’d set out. I hadn’t seen a single bus in either direction. Wherever they were they apparently weren’t going anywhere.
I didn’t get upset. Hey, I’m an optimist. I just happened to be an extremely cold and damp optimist.
That’s when my wife called.
“Why don’t you come and meet me where I work? You’re not far from your office, are you?”
Why, no, of course not! I wasn’t going to admit that I’d wandered hither and yon, or at least hither, or maybe yon—I’m not sure which is distance—from the bus stop closest to my office. I turned around and started trudging back the way I’d came. And amazingly I moved pretty quickly. It didn’t take me that long at all to get to where she worked. This was at least partly due to the slow-moving traffic which meant I didn’t have any trouble getting across intersections. And I think I was motivated by a desire to get out of the cold.
The heat in the middle of summer is brutal but it has one major advantage. It doesn’t stop, or even slow, the traffic.