#Snowmaggedon: Camping out in the office

Georgians may not know how to drive in snow, but Southern hospitality can sure thaw a frosty day.

So I really hate to admit it, but I remember Atlanta’s Snow Jam 1982—back before most of you reading this post were even born. And, yes, I believe it was actually the first local snowfall with a name. Nobody saw the storm coming, and all of Downtown took off at exactly 2 pm. Sound familiar? As I inched up Briarcliff toward my apartment, it was clear no one knew how to drive on the ice. Every hill was lined with bumper cars. Finally, I parked my car and walked three miles home in heels and pantyhose.

Which is why this time I decided to sleep on the office floor. My family lives in Cobb County, so we all have to cross the Chattahoochee River—somewhere—to get home from work. My son’s office in Alpharetta let out about 1 pm, and my husband finished a lunch meeting near Perimeter Mall about the same time. Both suffered Odyssean, 12-plus hour journeys, buffeted between the Scylla of I-285 and the Charybdis of Johnson Ferry. The low moment was around midnight when the Johnson Ferry bridge was declared unpassable, and both my guys had to turn around and find other routes. (Excuse me, Cobb, but how could you let one of the county’s largest arteries from Fulton ice over? #EPIC FAIL)

But my story of camping out in the Atlanta magazine offices is relatively painless. Other than a stupid motion-sensor overhead light that wouldn’t turn off and a jammed break-room coffeemaker, things went pretty smoothly. One refugee slept on a pile of promotional T-shirts, another got the short vinyl IKEA sofa (not really sure who got the better deal). As I’m sure you know by now, every hotel room within a 15-mile radius was booked for the poultry convention. Two of us had a lovely, leisurely dinner next door at White Oak Kitchen. Can you say corporate AmEx? The wonderfully hospitable owner, Alan LeBlanc, gave us a superb bottle of Belle Glos Pinot Noir, and I don’t think he even knew my office is next door to our restaurant critic’s. (Please patronize this restaurant. They’re good people.)

Today, a group of us made it home along I-75. Cars were abandoned along the edges, four deep in some places. But we saw a random sign, “If you need shelter, call.” When walking the last mile to my house, I heard stories about strangers handing out water and snacks at street corners.

I’ve got to wrap up this post because my neighborhood’s gathering for a potluck party at the clubhouse. We may not know how to drive in the snow in Georgia, but Southern hospitality can sure thaw a frosty day.