You know that post I just did, linking to the comment I wrote telling where I was and what I was doing exactly 10 years ago on New Year's Day? Remember? Rose Bowl, 80 degrees, humiliating defeat? Here is the rest of the story:
So after the game, I returned to Washington, D.C., blissfully unaware of how much farther my spirits were about to sink.
I would wager that, like me, most residents of the eastern United States remember vividly what happened, or began to happen, 10 years ago tomorrow: the infamous "Blizzard of 1996."
I had gone to see a movie on Saturday, Jan. 6, 1996 with a friend of mine from college. We were still commiserating about Northwestern's Rose Bowl loss. As we entered the theater, the night air was crisp; the sky hung low and heavy. (I don't remember what movie we saw – probably this or this, judging by the release dates. A crucial literary detail, I realize.)
When we emerged, there was already a good coating of snow on my buddy's Mustang ragtop, and it was still coming down hard. It would snow and snow and snow, all day Sunday and into Monday. A few days later, it would snow and snow and snow all over again.
In the end, Washington, D.C., a city totally incapable of dealing with even a dusting of powder – that is, unless it was going up the nose of the mayor at the time, in which case, residents considered it a political resumé-builder – much less mountains of snow, was completely shut down. The rest of the Northeast was essentially paralyzed too.
It was during the area's second pummeling at the hands of that cold bitch, Mother Nature, that cabin fever really began to set in. Fed up with my slow-going commutes on desolate roads better suited to Samoyeds, I joined several coworkers after work one evening in a quest to drink ourselves oblivious.
Like any sane and broke Senate staffer would do, we chose the Red River Grill, noted for its extremely cheap beer and drink specials. I opted for the swirled margaritas, which should have been a giveaway for my colleagues right there. (The Red River Grill, which occupied a building that was previously a Bermuda Triangle for restaurants, was re-purposed in 2005 as "Union Pub.")
Anyway, by the time I had sobered up, I had met the woman who would eventually, for a time, be my fiancée.
One of my most memorable moments from that night (or, more precisely, the next morning) was my desperate hunt in the huge Capitol Hill rowhouse that she and several roommates shared (a common existence for low-level congressional staff) for a place to relieve my distended bladder. My search ended in the basement, where I found a toilet standing amidst unfinished walls, with studs but no sheet-rock. I triumphantly threw open the lid of the loo and had barely unzipped before I was whizzing merrily away.
I urinated for what felt like minutes, carefully squeezed off the last few drops and then toggled the toilet handle.
I tried to flush again.
I flapped and flapped and flapped the handle as if trying to strike life-saving fire out of flint, but still nothing happened!
This was when I learned that I had just fouled a non-working toilet that wasn't even hooked up to plumbing. Number one, I felt like a monumental retard. But number two (if you get my drift) the situation could have been much, much worse.
Some walks of shame are more embarrassing, more memorable – and colder – than others.
But I never did find out who was unlucky enough to happen upon my micturative misfire.
So where were you during the Great Blizzard of '96?