A SEVERE WINTER STORM WARNING HAS BEEN ISSUED ..
Have they ever issued a Humorous Winter Storm Warning? It’s always a very severe affair, never something lighthearted that we can all get into. You know, the kind of thing that goes down before the commercial break on the evening nooze, delivered by the guy with the soothing voice of pale male authority and the woman wearing hair with tunnels that neatly reveal her big earrings:
White Guy: Tonight, the weather took a turn for the silly when … haha!
White Woman: >snicker!< Just roll the tape
(Cut to scenes of people falling on their butts with sound effects like “whee!” )
Allright maybe that would be too much, especially when it’s not “sweeps week”, but I don’t see the point of a small disaster if you can’t enjoy it. It’s our first big snow of the season, but it’s hardly a surprise. Once we know we have it nailed, can’t we have fun with it? People also spend a lot of time preparing for Christmas, and it’d be a shame to look this dour about it. Ah well. No one gets my sense of humor about these things. Take this exchange at the gas station:
Owner Woman: Clear that snow. That guy who spun out there tossed a rock at our window, it could have broken it.
Tow Truck Guy: It was only a rock.
Me: That’s what George Bush said.
[ crickets ]
I guess that the way people get through their lives in the middle class is through rote routine, and enough snow to mess up the roads messes up, well, everything. Welcome to Car-atopia, where getting around is all that matters! That’s what it means when Saint Paul declares a “Snow Emergency”, which they probably will later today – move your car so they can plow the streets, or have it towed. The phone rings, the email chimes, and all Hell breaks loose letting you know this critical fact. I wonder what we would do in the event of a real emergency?
Saint Paul has declared a SNOW DISASTER
* All cars left on the streets will be flattened into metal pancakes by the heavy equipment that will be used to deliver supplies.
* Those of you who have already stocked up on tuna and other canned goods are asked to share a reasonable amount with your slacker neighbors from California.
* Please locate yourself in your basement bunker until the all clear is sounded, and keep your ammo near your rifle.
* Should we organize a municipal caribou hunt you will be contacted through the usual channels.
* If marauding bands of ill-prepared people do break into your house, you are advised to take all measures necessary, but to save the last bullet for yourself.
It’s never come to that, but we can imagine it. If you want to get a good glimpse of what can really happen out on the prairie, read “The Long Winter” by Laura Ingalls Wilder. They were buried under feet of snow, and Pa Ingalls nearly starved to death keeping his family fed. Maybe this is where the seriousness about snow really comes from – the required reading in third grade.
Before Pa Ingalls there were natives who lived here, and they knew how to do it up. They spent the summer roaming the prairies and stocking up, and then they settled down and had a long, loafing winter in big cities. The Mandan had a town of about 10,000 people when they took in Lewis and Clark (bad idea) and spent the winter explaining all about the terrain that they lived on (even worse idea). Locally, the Mdwaketon Dakota did the same thing around Shakopee every Winter, although today it’s more commonly known as Mystic Lake Casino. Now, they clean out people’s wallets while giving them all the big acts from the 1960s, geezerly reunited with each other but not necessarily their own teeth. I’m telling you, the getback is a mother.
That’s the way to handle this weather. Not the slot machines, although that’s nice work if you can get it – by loafing around because you’re prepared for it. Snow Emergency? Pshaw. Severe Weather? Schmazere Weather. This is not a time to be out on the roads, especially if it gives everyone an even crappier attitude than roads usually do. I have a cup of Twinings Prince of Wales tea, and I don’t care if it keeps snowin’. Mmmmm.