Friday, January 08, 2010

Awww ... It Looks So Pretty!

Once a year, usually sometime in January, the entire city of Atlanta stops because of precipitation. Not snow--we all agree that snow is pretty and we're glad we don't get too much of it. Nope -- it's ice that stops Atlanta.

My friends and family in Virginia and Maryland have been talking to me recently about the snow they've had, and it brings back some good memories and some bad. Let's see:  Snowmen (good); Broken Wrist (not so good).  White Christmas (good); White Christmas if you haven't finished your shopping yet (just plain ugly).

The mid-Atlantic region just had 18-24" of snow a couple of weeks ago, depending on which area you're talking about. That amount of snow definitely has an impact on the whole area, because it generally takes a day or two to get the roads clean enough to get into work. And there's that day of cleaning the driveway, only to have the street cleaners block you back in. But basically, the street folks have been out most of the night before salting and sanding, and the snowplows are on the road immediately, and most of us are out doing errands the same day and our bosses expect us back at work the next day.

Here in Georgia we just don't get that kind of accumulation but the sight of a flake sends us all into Red Alert. Take yesterday, for instance.

Last night was our guild meeting, always held the first Thursday evening of the month. But flakes were coming. Several of us spent what seemed like hours on email debating whether to cancel the meeting.  Finally, with the gravitas usually reserved for declaring a raising of the Homeland Security alert level or deciding who should play in the BCS championship game, we cancelled. Turned out to be the right decision, but it could just as easily have gone the other way -- all of us sitting at home while the first flake turned out to be the last. Definitely a crapshoot, no matter what The Weather Channel says.

And, by the way, in the South, The Weather Channel is GOD. Well, next to high school football. I know people who won't walk to the end of the driveway to pick up their newspaper without checking with TWC.  I will admit to a more cynical viewpoint--I see meteorologists as closer to crystal ball gazers and less as all-knowing beings. Because I've spent too many evenings sitting home while the first flake turns out to be the last, surrounded by my stockpiled milk, bread and spare batteries.

Anyway, when I first came to the South, I scoffed at the way we run around like well-bred chickens with our heads cut off when we spot that first flake. I harkened back to Life in The North where Men Are Men and We Know How to Deal With Snow

But the first year I was here, I almost got run off the road by a guy in a black pickup truck who slammed on his brakes in front of me, traveling on black ice. He hit another car, I steered into the skid and only hit the curb. Whoopsie! 

So, a few truths:

1.  We're really NOT prepared here for snow or ice. My little rural county apparently cannot afford  a bag of sand. I know this because the streets outside my subdivision are a solid sheet of ice and there's not a sandtruck or even a probationer with a shovel anywhere to be seen.

2.  One of the things that makes driving in snow easier is that you're driving on packed snow which gives traction. Here we don't have that luxury--it's just a thin layer of ice that freezes and thaws and freezes and thaws and becomes the Dreaded Black Ice. Not a Good Thing.

3. And, no, we really don't know how to drive in this stuff. It's hard to become an expert when you only get one day a year to practice. And that whole "drive into the skid" seems so counterintuitive. Much easier to slam on the old brakes and see how that works out for you.

Bottom line: I'm hunkered down in the house, surrounded by dogs and yarn. I've given up on going to work and I'm going to spend the day doing something really important, like Knitting. Or inventorying yarn and planning to knit. What's your excuse?

1 comment:

The Knifty Knitter said...

I couldn't stop laughing at this post. And it's all so true, which, of course, makes it funnier. Northerners will never understand...

P.S. Hope you were able to get out of your neighborhood today. If you're like me, you're already out of milk.