January 28, 2011 by 8junebugs
I may, in fact, be done with snow.
For the first 14 of my 33 years, I was in Vermont and didn’t really even think about snow. All that mattered in the winter was whether it was cold enough to freeze the pond and whether I could con an adult into shoveling it so I could skate. (I didn’t shovel snow in my youth. Ever.) (I don’t know why.)
These last few years in DC, I’ve shoveled enough snow to fill that pond…which, okay, wasn’t even deep enough to drown Grandpa’s heifers, but still. A lot. And I have a tiny shovel that I purchased from the local hardware store because it was the only one left in a 50-mile radius after last year’s storms really kicked in.
It is not a back-friendly shovel. Building management loans out bigger, better ones.
On Wednesday, I listened to the only weather team I trust and left an hour and a half before the office’s announced early closure, although they pulled that closure back another hour after I left. It takes me almost an hour to get home in regular traffic, you see, and the weather team said the storm was going to come up fast and furious. WE CANNOT EMPHASIZE ENOUGH, the said, HOW FAST THIS IS GOING TO GET DANGEROUS. Or something to that effect. In all-caps and/or bold.
They were absolutely right.
I drove out of Reston through thunderhail. I spent a little more than an hour carefully commuting by my usual route, driving through virtually every form of precipitation, some at the same time. I got home just as the snow showers started, and just as some of my team members were trying to leave the office…and the weather in Reston got worse faster than it did in Alexandria. One of them decided to have dinner by the office and still didn’t get home until almost 3 a.m.
It’s not the snow’s fault. It’s that we don’t respect it, and I think we’re all still a little bitter about all the shoveling and missed work and school last winter. We don’t want to be the first to leave the office because of the weather. Gawd. Because of my New England background, I get picked on for paying such close attention to the forecasts and taking precautions when everyone else is like, “Well, what if they’re wrong?”
Well, if they’re wrong, I still get work done, just from a different location. And if they’re right, I spend my evening safe and warm at home and you spend it on the toll road.
I have no problem driving in snow and ice, even with my wimpy little Honda, but this region doesn’t have the infrastructure to deal with more than a couple of perfectly timed inches of fluffy snow. When we get thumped with 1-2 inches an hour before, during, and after an already ridiculous rush “hour,” it’s a disaster. And it’s not predictable enough to increase the infrastructure, so…manage your expectations, I say.
Sure, Vermont schools and offices have tougher inclement weather policies. But Vermonters also buy 4-wheel-drive vehicles and put proper winter tires on every single year. You live there, it’s what you do. If you grew up there, moved to California, started driving there, then moved back, it’s what you re-learn to remember to do. Expectations.
Even though it’s not the snow’s fault, it gets a little less fun every time, even though I’ve become a bit of a snow junkie down here. It’s pretty! Lot plowing is included in my rent! There’s bread, cheese, wine, and friends in easy walking distance! I don’t even mind shoveling out my car. But the DC reaction and response to the inclement weather just isn’t worth its weight in cocoa.
Snow, I think I can totally quit you.