This week Chicago was socked with its 3rd biggest snowstorm…20.2″. Schools and many offices closed, the airports basically shut down, Brookfield Zoo closed for the 2nd time in 77 years, a rehearsal and audition I had were canceled, hundreds of commuters were stranded on Lake Shore Drive, huge snow drifts and 40+ mph wind gusts kept many from shoveling out their cars, the city advised residents not to drive, etc.
But my current place of business remained open. Would venturing out in the Blizzard of 2011 be foolhardy, or be honoring my commitment, being reliable? Would I feel intrepid if I went or like a wimp if I didn’t? Was staying home or going in the right thing to do?
I solicited advice. I watched the morning news and assessed the situation. CTA buses were running. I was going in.
Garbed in study boots, snowpants and my most weather-proof down coat, I ventured forth. The journey didn’t begin auspiciously: drifts blocked the door. Up the stairs and down another set I went. Success. The route to the bus required traversing a side street piled so high with snow it looked like something out of a movie. Some cars were buried so deep you could only see the tops. I had to slog through thigh-high drifts, which was a bit frightening. I considered turning back to cozy safety, but pressed on. And only saw two other people with their dog. Finally I made it to the bus stop. Only a few other hardy souls were out and about, walking in the street because the sidewalks were too snowy. Only a few cars passed. Just one taxi, with a passenger. How many who stayed home were supposed to go to work, but either didn’t or absolutely couldn’t?
I ducked into an building alcove to await the bus. It arrived, fortunately half-empty. The main street had clearly been plowed, though more snow was accumulating. Because hardly anyone was going to work, I reached my destination quickly. Shortly after I got there, the weather took a downturn…heavy snow, strong gusts.
But I’d made it in, and on time. The people I work for were very happy.
Hindsight shows I did do the right thing. Of course, at the time decision-making is required, we just have to weigh our options and go with our gut feelings.