I am sorry, but can the news cycle cover something other than snowstorms? Sweet Jesus. We live in New England, OK? It comes with the territory. This isn’t the Carolinas where a couple inches grinds things to a halt, and the helicopters can get footage worthy of America’s Funniest Home Videos of southern drivers sliding into parked cars on the street like the end game scenes from drunken car chases.
The recently retired local police chief had a discussion with me shortly before a first snowfall of a couple inches years ago. He told me he was ordering in all available officers. Being the head of the finance committee at the time, I looked at him like he was crazy.
He, of course, looked at me like I was the crazy person and simply said, “Gwool think. I will have six month’s worth of new drivers on the road racing to get to school. What do you think is going to happen? The brick parsonage on the corner gets hit every year. Every year.”
He was right. I was wrong. (And I know a kid who nailed the parsonage going to school.) Wasn’t the first time that was the case with Al, and it wasn’t the last. Great man, and a great cop.
But this was different. This storm had schools cancelling 24 hours before it hit, and some have delayed schools two hours tomorrow morning. No first time drivers out on the streets, if their parents have any brains.
As a little safety tip, let me impart this one on you, dear reader. If you have young drivers, get them out in an unplowed parking lot and let them slide around and skid. Teach them.
My mother did it with me around 1 a.m. in the morning. One of her better parenting moves, although the screening process was not terribly exhausting, but you have to give the old girl credit where credit is due.
It was a positive take away, retailored to my personal predilictions.
In my instance, I happen to live on a lake that has an oval for ice car races. I took my boys out one night under the influence and had them racing my F-150 around the oval in two wheel drive skidding it into snow banks and having a grand old time. I let them do it THEIR way the first few times and fail miserably while I laughed. I then asked if they would do it my way and taught them.
Even the cop who put on the blues and thought he had an excuse to go into the station and get warm gave us a hall pass when I gave him the explanation. Didn’t even make us stop the training exercise before he left … or make me walk a line.
None of my boys has gone off the road as a result of weather.
Snapping tie rods after running over mail boxes? Well, that’s another story entirely.
But back to the point. SNOWSTORMS ARE NOT NEW NEWS IN NEW ENGLAND. Here you have a story of a four generation tradition, as my grandfather allowed my mother to drive his Model A grocery delivery trucks on the lake to learn, and to get his drunken French Canadian buddies back from their ice holes when they needed to go to the bathroom … when she was 12.
We know what to do. During the storm I worked from home like many others. I
- Reviewed three different research documents firing emails, IMs, and PowerPoint documents into the ether.
- Sat in on a vendor product announcement conducted by a company based in MA who had all execs working from home with the internet feed a little slow because all sorts of other people were working from home.
- Had a conference call with six people kicking off a 12 week project.
- Did some internet research.
- Looked after my daughter.
My daughter did what she should do at the age of 12. She slept until 1 pm, went out and played in the snow building forts and having snowball fights, and then flaked out in her papasan chair sipping hot chocolate and IMing friends on Facebook.
During this time I could hear the Townhouse complex snow blower blasting away and the maintenance pickup truck doing the plowing. I giggled, thinking about the poor Jamaican guy on the business end of the snow blower figuring he was wishing he was back in Jamaica smoking a blunt with his toes in the hot white sand.
After dinner and after the storm subsided, I did what I always love doing. I went shopping with one of my children. No one goes out after a storm blows over. It’s great. Only thing close is timing Home Depot runs for the nights the staff does inventory. They flock to you. Only risk there happens to be needing something in an aisle roped off while these poor schmucks use lift trucks to count product. But if you work it right, they’ll jump the fence and go get it for you.
Tonight I had Wal-Mart floor people flocking around me like lounge lizards hovering around the tipsy girl at closing time. From there I went to Staples and had two tech support folks collaboratively advising me on what $29.00 laptop pillow to buy and on what $14.00 photo paper would work best with my laser printer. On a normal night I would not have been able to get their attention even if I lit my hair on fire and said I had a bomb wrapped around my stomach.
So done with a traditional “spoil your daughter day” expedition, I got daughter home and to bed and sought to flick mindlessly through the cable channels.
And all I got were breathless news promos about the storm. It’s done. Move on, people! Come up with some real news. If it were 100 degrees in New England this time of year, I just might be curious as to why. But snow? In New England? In January?
Next up will be wonderment at the cold snap the Nor’easter weather pattern generates 9 times out of 10.