12.09.2005

That old black ice magic

When a person records Parts 1 and 2 of a two-part show, one expects to be able to watch both parts of that show. Especially when one depends on certain recorded shows to distract them from the tedium and effort of their morning exercise routine. Thank you, CBS News in Dallas, for canceling the second part of the program that had sucked me in so completely the day before that I actually went to sleep wondering how everything was going to turn out. This local event was obviously so monumental that it called for a six hour, minute-by-minute breaking news special yesterday.

Brace yourselves: The Dallas area was hit two days ago with extremely cold temperatures, sleet and freezing rain, and a resulting black ice epidemic. 98% of the schools around here were closed (I’m just making that percentage up to illustrate that there may have been a handful of schools open, but they were the schools attached to churches, so I imagine they had the salt trucks of God on their side), and the good people of Dallas were struck by despair, mass paranoia and endless news reports detailing this weather surprise.

I get that Texas isn’t supposed to be this cold. I get that ice on the roads makes for hazardous driving. I do not get why news anchors need to repeat BLACK ICE with the dread of a soon-to-be-hanged man in their voices (or perhaps it’s closer to that of a villager witnessing the advent of a new plague), or station a camera next to the highway, and return to the nearly-frozen and frankly under-dressed token minority staff member every few minutes to receive an update like “as you can see, the roads are still icy.” Back to the news room for some fun with meteorological maps, spin the radar line around a bit, superimpose some tweaked time-lapse photography, and a close-up of the news anchor with the next update: “As you can see, it is still extremely cold and icy out there, folks.”

But the recurring theme of the news program, radio reports and conversations was this BLACK ICE that struck terror in the hearts of people far and wide.


I skated to work yesterday with the other eight people in Dallas who do not have the luxury of flexible hours, “working from home” (I’m pretty sure this is actually a fictional arrangement, though) or children suddenly exiled from their schools and needing supervision. Boss’s housekeeper burst in on me sporadically to cry about the BLACK ICE (which apparently is why she had to leave mid-morning the day before. Here I thought it was better to wait a bit for the sun to do its job, but, whatever). Boss called in a few times to ask me what it was like outside (“well Boss, as you can guess, it’s still cold and icy out there”) so I obligingly told her some BLACK ICE stories that beat the pants off any dead-guy’s-hook-scraping-the-car-roof stories. Boss’s errand guy told me not to go outside without buttoning up my coat or I’d catch pneumonia, but I told him that was just an old BLACK ICE tale.

Today the below-freezing temps and the BLACK ICE have all but disappeared, and I will never know what happened to the pathetic people the good doctor planned on helping in Part 2 of my program. All that news coverage for the weather. Thanks a lot, CBS news. A BLACK ICE on both your houses.


1 comment:

Blogger Lisa said...

I'll have to call my friend Bic who lives in Dallas to see how she handled it. Being from the midwest she probably thought everyone was acting like a bunch of pussies. heehee.

That sucks that you didn't get to see the rest of that report. I hope you get to soon.

3:29 PM  

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