Snow!Posted: December 11, 2009
I have a lot of friends who live where it snows significantly. None of those people live close enough to me that we can call each other in the morning and agree to go have lunch.
Early this week there was a forecast of a possibility of a wintry mix of precipitation here. In most of North Carolina, including the part I’m in, terror generally ensues upon the issuance of such a forecast.
Since that time, I have had several talks with people who broached the topic with the opening “did you hear we are going to get snowed in on Saturday?” You see, once snow is mentioned as a possibility here it remains a possibility that must be dreaded and prepared for until after the forecast date, even if the forecast changes. Wintery mix is no longer in our forecast, but it is in the psyche of the region now and can not be removed.
Snowed in is different things to different people. Please look at this entry from my friend Kate’s blog. While you’re there, look at the rest of her blog too. Note though that while she worked from home on Tuesday, her response to it continuing to snow on Wednesday would cause people in my neighborhood to begin making wardrobe selections to attend her funeral. Kate went to work. Two days of non stop snow and she left the house. To my friends here, Kate would be someone to be regarded with awe as she lectured on how she actually drove in snow. She is nothing short of an arctic explorer.
Our region is paralyzed by the presence of actual snow. Not Kate-like snow. I’m talking about the kind of snow that sticks to the grass and makes the road wet. Half the population is done at that point. The door is locked and will not be opened until they can see brown grass sticking from the clay soil.
On the order of once a year, we have snow that accumulates on the roads. Almost every time it happens, the snow starts at night and builds up to a maximum of half an inch. When this happens, it is labeled The Blizzard of whatever year it happens to be. People will refer to it as that forever more. When the blizzards come, everything will be closed. Stores, schools, government offices, closed. In fact, if the forecast for snow is made several days in advance and does not change before the night it is expected to arrive, workplace and school closings are announced based on the potential of snow.
When snow is predicted here, the proper response is to rush to the grocery store and buy three things. Milk, bread and eggs. Some of the truly panic-stricken add candles and jugs of distilled water. I only know one thing you can make with milk, bread and eggs. I’m certain that in the days following a snow event, or a near miss, North Carolina is the French Toast Capital of the World.
When we do have a “Blizzard of…” everything is closed. No one moves. Then gradually, inexorably, our snow removal equipment goes to work around dawn. By lunch, the roads are simply wet and draining fast. Those who were snowed in take their kids to the mall because they are driving them crazy being cooped up inside.
What is striking is that this mindset infects nearly everyone who lives here. People who grew up in climates where snow is frequent and plentiful regard this response with amusement the first winter they are here. The next year, they are in line at the grocery store, with a shopping cart full of milk and hotdog buns, because all the other forms of bread are sold out.
I’d like to make a sandwich for lunch, but my son made his lunch with the last of the bread we had on hand. It isn’t snowing here tomorrow. I know that there is a 50/50 chance that I will find bread at the store when I go because someone once said it might snow here tomorrow.
Would some of you who are actually seeing snow please FedEx me some bread?