“UGGs” Are Not Australian For “Snow Boots”

DC got a half inch of snow this morning. In Ohio, that’s viewed as a meteorological joke, but for Washingtonians, half an inch equates to full-fledged Blizzard Conditions. I guess all things are relative. Anyway, after the weather guy on Channel Four describe the day’s forecast as “grave” and “climatically treacherous,” I gave serious thought to calling the Place of Lawyerly Things and claiming a sick snow day. Honestly, I didn’t want the commuting headache. Experience has taught me that the Metro does not deal well with things like temperature fluctuation, increase in ridership, fire, or any form of precipitation. So, I imagined my commute would become the real-life version of that movie where the weather goes all doomsday and freezes the Statue of Liberty up to her armpits while almost turning Jake Gyllenhaal into a human popsicle, but then Dennis Quaid snowshoes across four States and saves the Jakester by wrapping him in a hand-warmer cocoon, so Jake only has mild frostbite and possibly snow blindness. Yep, I figured it was going to be a lot like that. But with a train.

Between my apartment and the Rosslyn Metro is a Really Big Hill. And by “big,” I mean, Sir Edmund Hillary could scale it, plant a flag on top, and call it his Bitch. Each morning, I happily walk down the hill and each evening, I dread death marching up. I consider that climb the workout equivalent of the Iron Man. And in the year I’ve lived at Chez Apartment, I’ve had several weather-related encounters with the Hill. Each time there’s heavy rain, mini-flash floods develop at the top and without warning, tsunamis made of run-off barrel down. Anybody in the wake of all this water gets soaked, usually to the knees. I’ve learned to wear rain boots for forecasts that include anything more than a trickle. Also, the one time it got icy last winter, I attempted to climb the Hill. After three failed attempts, a fellow commuter and I admitted defeat. Ice, gravity and a lack of rock salt were just too much. We gave up and hailed a taxi to take us to the top.

Knowing all this, I spent several minutes considering the footwear logistics of my a.m. trek down to the Metro. I was going to need lots of traction, and possibly a miracle, to get to the bottom of Mt. Pedestrian Killer. Theoretically, I own snow boots and rain boots; both traction-acceptable for my icy descent. But, after ten minutes of rummaging through my shoe closet, I realized both pairs of boots were at eCrush’s. Writing them off as Lost Forever, I threw on my UGGs.

As my UGGs and I approached the Really Big Hill, I watched one unsuspecting woman descend about a foot, hit a patch of ice disguised as slush, do that arm flail thing from the cartoons, and land on her tuckus. It was hilarious until I realized that probably was going to be me in about three minutes. As I watched, another person began sidestepping down the face of the Hill, like people do on ski slopes. This method was fairly successful, except for the occasional side slide that caused a lot of muttering and one instance where the guy screamed, “Holy Shit!” A third person was trying to Spiderman down the Hill, body and hands splayed against the side of the building that lines the sidewalk. That just looked like a body scrape waiting to happen. Clearly, the Really Big Hill had elevated to Break Your Neck conditions.

I stood at the crest for a few minutes, studying the slush and attempting to locate the biggest patches of snow-free sidewalk. Mentally, I plotted my course, noting all possible life-saving building and tree handholds in case of an unexpected wipeout. Eventually, it got to the point where I couldn’t put it off any longer. I knew I either had to get down the Hill or return to Chez Apartment and call the Place of Lawyerly Things. While my Sensible Side fully supported a day of Buffy and Hot Chocolate, my Inner Ohioan scoffed. If half an inch of snow, a mere dusting, was going to keep me homebound, I could no longer claim to be a Midwesterner.

Unwilling to relinquish my geographic motherland, I gingerly placed my foot on the slope of the Hill and sort of squished it down for traction. Once I knew I was stable, I positioned my other boot about six inches further down the hill, dug into the slush, and prayed. As I shifted my weight forward, I maintained traction. I mentally thanked Whoever-Is-The-Patron-Saint-Of-Commuting. And again, I stepped, prayed, shifted, over and over, inching down Rosslyn’s version of K2. Everything was fine until, about eight feet from the bottom, I misstepped. Instead of putting my foot on a strip of visible brick a few inches ahead, I accidentally overshot my mark and my UGGed foot landed on a frozen piece of plastic. It was too late to do any readjustments so I shifted my weight forward, but the rubber sole of my UGG couldn’t grip the plastic beneath it. Inadvertently, I had created the perfect storm of snow, slippery plastic, and traction deficient footwear. My UGGed foot, still atop the plasticy thing, began to slide down the hill and because I was mid-weight shift, with my back foot still planted firmly behind me, I began to do the splits. I am not Mary Lou Retton; I do not bend that way and it hurt. As my legs continued to spread, every single time I had declined Stella’s offers to introduce me to yoga flashed through my head. At some point, cussing ensued. Just as I was about to split in two, my self-preservation instincts kicked in. I lifted my back leg, the one that was holding me in place and essentially keeping me steady. Instantly, the UGG/plastic thingie morphed into a foot sled. I shot down the Hill, doing an impression of a wobbly, one-legged surfing flamingo. Death was imminent. Either I was going to fall and break my delicate neck, kamikaze into a building, or get smooshed by one of the cars whizzy past the base of the Really Big Hill. Wanting to shorten my time in purgatory, I closed my eyes and admitted to God that I really was the person who broke my brother’s Optimus Prime, not Little Sister.

I continued to confess the sins of my past, and had made it through most of puberty, when I realized I’d stopped moving. Somehow, I’d slid one-legged down the Really Big Hill and reached a graceful halt at the bottom. I sighed with relief. It was over. For a moment, I envisioned Johnny Drama, then, confident that all was well since I was on the level and semi-slush-free sidewalk, I took a step. That’s when my UGGs lived up to their tractionless nature. I promptly fell flat on my butt and let out every four letter word I knew.


20 Responses to ““UGGs” Are Not Australian For “Snow Boots””

  1. PrincessQ Says:

    First of all, I snorted about 4 times during this post so thank you for that.

    Secondly, I’m glad you didn’t get too hurt cuz that would be bad.

    Thirdly, this is why I love my car…LOL

    I wore my flats this morning. I’m not sure why I didn’t wear my boots that are made for snow, even though they have 4 inch heels.

    Don’t judge me.

    I’m dreading the drive home though. I’m just hoping that most of the people bailed out early and it won’t be too bad on the road.

  2. Paula Says:

    This was the kind of post that had me doubled up with laughter at the mental images forming in my head. Thanks for the best giggle i’ve had all day!

    Hope your ass isn’t too sore though!

    Oh and I also had a similar epiphany in ice a couple of months back re: the whole UGGS not being snow boots thing. I wasn’t a happy bunny at all…

  3. lacochran Says:

    Damn it! So close.

    Hope you’re okay.

  4. Sarah Says:

    Sooo funny. I didn’t laugh, though, because that would equal bad karma for my walk home.

  5. kettleonelover Says:

    I am proud of your Ohio self for venturing out into the snow to begin with… nice work midwestern sexy!

  6. Scarlett Says:

    Too Funny – Being origionally from Michigan I too scoff at the DC snow. P.S. I LOVE the Dar Williams quote! I just stumbled upont the blog because of the name and was like “huh – is that a DAR qote!?” Very nice blog!

  7. I-66 Says:

    Jennifer “Ugg” Uggerson might be proud, but I am not.

  8. AnonaEsq Says:

    FYI, central Ohio is supposed to get 6 inches to 12 feet tonight depending on what side of Interstate 70 you choose to measure. Oh and ice and sleet and possibly losing my power again like when Hurricane Ike hit Cowtown last September.

    Does that make D.C.’s half inch sound any better?

  9. restaurantrefugee Says:

    Wait, it’s not Thursday. Aren’t you a couple of days early to admit to owning a pair of UGG’s?

    Glad you made it safely, and with only one fall. Good luck on the expedition home.

  10. deutlich Says:

    That is the very best DC-snow story EVER. And I thank you for that mental picture. Because I’m giggling.

    A lot.

  11. michelle Says:

    and tonight all that slush is going to freeze! just think of the commute tomorrow 🙂

  12. ella Says:

    this is why i wish technology had advanced enough where i could just look out, blink my eyes hard once and *click* snap pictures or video onto some implant chip. i NEVER have a camera handy when something as spectacular as this happens!

  13. J.M. Tewkesbury Says:

    You need a pair or two these: Yak Trax. There’s no shame in owning them either; you can still keep your geographical status. As someone who grew up in a snowbound state (Utard) and thinks snow is a joke here, a pair of these puppies have saved my arse, my pride, and my dapper dyke wardrobe. I promise, you’ll never slip again.

  14. Laina Says:

    I got a snow day today. Nanananananah! 😉

  15. freckledk Says:

    Oh, dear. This was me this morning. Only I had to go up my mountain of ice. I’m so not looking forward to making my way down that slippery slope tonight!

    And my poor dog? Tobagganed himself down the hill as I was taking him on his post-breakfast walk. It was both sad and funny to watch. Mostly funny. I’ll admit to laughing; I’m a mean mom.

  16. Stella Says:

    Tsk tsk tsk. I’m shaking my head at you re: the selection of UGGs. Rookie move! You can’t claim car-free superiority if you fail this basic lesson of Pedestrian Commutership 101. And I totally agree re: the ridiculosity of DC winters. You’d think it was the freaking Apocalypse!

  17. Daniel Says:

    Ditto for the Yak Trax. Awesome. Very vital for DC ice.

    The hill that you mention is my entertainment during the winter. I work in a building that looks right onto it… I cannot count the times I have watched people (and cars… really, anyone who knows this area avoids that street, but its often a shortcut when Lee Hwy is congested… and then people get to learn what it is like to ride a tobaggan) over the past 4 years.

  18. suz Says:

    I am proud of you. We got a snow ice snow sandwich today and I haven’t even bothered to step one foot out in that shit.

  19. Malnurtured Snay Says:

    Well, look on the bright side: at least you made it to the bottom of the hill before you fell over. You could’ve done a head-over-heels all the way down!

  20. Zandria Says:

    This has to be just about the funniest post I’ve ever read. You’re so awesomely descriptive!! 🙂

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