Thursday, January 23, 2014

Snow Daze

I really hate snow. There, I said it. I’m a hater. I watch people being interviewed on the TV news who are very excited. “Let it snow! I’d like a foot or more!"

Well, no. I live in a mid-Atlantic state (Maryland) that isn’t used to large amounts of snow, and I live far enough from anywhere that a big snowfall is a serious disruption. Around 360 days of the year, that’s not a big deal, and some years, like 2013, there isn’t enough snow to complain about.

Getting a snowfall of even three or four inches, however, creates problems on the roads - heck, even on my fairly quiet street I’ve seen two vehicles skidding across the plowed pavement; I don’t want to know what the highway to the Metro station looks like. The 7-8” expected before this storm system moves out is a paralyzing event.

People elsewhere make fun of the DC area for being so unprepared for snow. Those people fall into one of three categories: (1) people from places where it snows a lot, so it makes sense for people to have four-wheel-drive vehicles and snow blowers, and for municipalities to invest in extensive snow removal equipment; (2) people from places where it snows a lot but hardly anyone drives - particularly New York City, where four inches of snow just means wet boots walking to and from the subway; and (3) people from places where it rarely snows, who assume that because we do get snow we prepare for it like those in the first category.

The problem with snow isn’t so much the relatively minor disruption in our lives. I can read a forecast, so I can stock up on food and beverages. I can shovel a driveway and sidewalk slowly, taking breaks as needed, so it’s not terribly stressful. And I don’t have a sense of self-importance that compels me to go into the office when the driving conditions are bad. No, it’s other people, as usual: those who insist that the driveway has to be shoveled right now, because they have to get to work. (I share a driveway with two neighbors.) A boss that doesn’t mind driving into work, even though the government is closed. Front office managers who refuse to reschedule meetings, even though the agenda isn’t anything urgent. The who compulsion to show up to work, because you never know who will think less of you if you remain safely home.

The people I really feel for are those who have to be out, like the mail delivery lady sliding down the street, trying to reach mailboxes that residents haven’t bothered to clear. If the self-important would stay off the roads, that would improve the lives of people who really have to be out there.

So there, I said it. I hate snow. And boss, don’t expect to see me in tomorrow, either.

Snow backyard 1 21 14

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