I bailed out of work early today to beat the forecast snow storm. The weather service predicted that by noon today snow would start falling and soon after it would be coming down at a rate of 1 to 2 inches per hour, creating whiteout conditions during the heart of the evening commute. Since I didn’t want to (a) be stuck sleeping in my office overnight or (b) stuck in a snowbank on the side of the highway overnight, I left early and made it home just as the snow started piling up. We can expect 6-10 inches tonight.
New Englanders are funny about snow. For the first few storms of the season, they follow a particular pattern. The forecast of the storm comes in a few days before and people go into contingency mode: They rush off to the grocery store to buy milk and bread and eggs and bottled water (and, let’s be honest, soda and snacks and sugary cereal) and then off to the hardware store to buy shovels (what happened to the old ones?), salt, and snow blowers. Parking lots get jammed and the local news stations fill their broadcasts with images of empty shelves and packed checkout lines.
Of course, the same people are heard telling one another, “You’d think no one around here ever saw snow,” creating an amusing melange of the herd mentality and hard-nosed cynical Yankee grit.
Meanwhile, folks will still drive out into the storm as if it were a sunny July afternoon, so confident in their four-wheel drive and “superior” driving ability that they speed along the interstates at 70 mph, never realizing that four-wheel drive means four wheels spinning ineffectively. The other day, when we had bad icing on the roads, people were flying around at high speed and the news was full of reports of spin outs and roll overs.
So, we’re holed up here in our warm little apartment, watching the snow fall and the cars inch along the main road outside, looking forward to the hot chocolate we’ll make after I shovel the walks and driveway later. Now, if only we had a fireplace…