Sunday, November 26, 2006

Something wicked this way falls...

It is snowing here in the Puget Sound. So while of my neighbors look outside and see the beauty of the white stuff, I see something a little more sinister slithering down from the sky.

If I were a kid, I'd be excited and scraping together a snow man, hoping school would be closed in the morning. But since I am an adult that has to get to work in the morning in a region that flounders at the sight of a snow flake, I'm annoyed at best.

When I was a kid growing up in Idaho, snow didn't really shut down anything. It never shut down the school. It didn't shut down the roads. It was just there.

The people of the Puget Sound are not emotionally equipped for snow. It rarely happens here. They are oblivious to the rain for the most part. When becomes cold and frozen and comes down in flakes, they stare at it like a chipanzee that's been handed an iPod. Then they do the natural thing. They jump in their cars and try to drive as if nothing was amiss. And idiots in SUVs -- the official vehicle of the Pacific Northwest -- somehow think four-wheel drive allows them to navigate at 60 miles per hour in the snow with immunity.

Inevitably they clog the roads with abandoned cars that have skidded off the road because the concept of steering your car in the direction the rear end of your car is skidding does not come intuitively to "native" Washitonians. And for the most part, it does not come naturally to people who have moved here, either. Knowing how to drive in snow doesn't really help you when no one around you does.

Part of the problem in the greater Seattle area is that everything is built on hills. So pretty much anywhere you try to get to driving involves going up or down a hill. The best course of action is to stay home or take public transit. Unfortunately, most employers here don't believe in snow days and our bus drivers don't really know how to drive in snow either.

So as the snow falls and the lights flicker, I shudder a bit. It's going to be a long night. And the morning commute promises to be even longer.
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