Monday, January 29, 2007

The White Death

It snowed here last week. On Monday we got about 3 inches of snow. Then Wednesday came and dropped another inch. Sunday brought some near zero degree weather and if you take into account the wind chill factor, and why wouldn’t you, it is below zero.

In my part of the world any sign of snow is reason for the inducement of widespread panic. The White Death has arrived! Our driving becomes erratic. Do you slam on the brakes during a skid or pump them? Do you turn in the direction of the skid or the opposite direction? What is the proper etiquette for introducing yourself to the driver you smashed your car into?

Not only do we become moronic in our driving habits, we immediately become concerned that we will never be able to eat again. So we drive to the grocery and purchase a months worth of provisions to assure ourselves that if the wolf comes to our door we can provide him and his friends with pizza, chips and a cold beer. We are prepared to hunker down until the panic is over, which will occur on the next work day.

Some of us are able to phone work and tell them we are snowed in until the thaw arrives, but most of us do not have that luxury.

My friends from Custer South Dakota take it all in stride. They do not have trucks dumping mega-tons of ice melting pellets on their highways. Instead they pack the snow down and put gravel on it to prevent sliding. The folks there are used to being careful when driving in the snow. 7 degrees below zero is to laugh for the Northwestern population. Their homes are built to withstand cold weather. There is no panic.

And this is very hard for a Midwesterner to believe.

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