Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The mountain and the shortcut

The path was clear. From the metro station exit, around the corner, down the street, across the parking lot, through the alley, and it's the next building down, across the street. Then it snowed.

Since the first big snow back in December, I've had to cross a mountain to get to work. When they cleared the parking lot, they piled the snow in the back corner, blocking access to the alleyway.

That first day, I wasn't sure it was passable. But I found a path that had been trodden before me. Up and over.

The second day, I met someone coming the other way. Giggling and carrying a plate of cookies. High, I thought. I backed up a couple paces to let her pass and we exchanged some pleasantry. At last I came down on the other side, full with the uncertainty of fresh snow and giggling myself. Silly, slippery snow mountain.

The mountain has changed. The path is now a deep furrow, so narrow that, ironically, it's much harder to get a solid foothold. There is no longer a steady incline. A parking space has been reclaimed by carving into the slope. The way across is a plateau, but the step up to (or down from) it is treacherous.

This week in some stupid -30° weather, a colleague on the way out of the building asked if I knew about the "shortcut." Somehow, after 2 months of employ, I was finally deemed worthy of this secret knowledge, or maybe she just took pity on me in the cold.

Quick across the street and in through an unmarked industrial door beside a loading dock. Two levels of parking, eerily quiet given that most of the city is knocking off work at this hour. A stairwell and a narrow hallway wending back and forth. We exit beside a bank of elevators at the main front entranceway to the building. It's only appropriate that the occupant of the building be a major producer of video games.

Outside across a different parking lot, and now into the stock exchange building. More stairways before hitting the tunnels that join up to the metro.

I don't think it was shorter, but it was warmer for the length of two short city blocks (broken up by a block of the brisk outdoors).

No matter which path I choose on my way to and from work, it seems I choose my own adventure.

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