Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Snow Days... Schmow Days...

For those who don't know this, I grew up in Utah where there are two seasons: three months of summer and nine months of winter. If you aren't burning your brains out in the desert sun, you're freezing your butt off in the cold and snow. Legend has it that Brigham Young--upon entering the Great Salt Lake Valley--pronounced the fateful words, "This is the place" while in a feverish delirium thereby causing many to wonder if he was really having a vision from God telling him he and his band of faithful had really arrived in the so-called "Promised Land" or if he was loopy from the crud and hallucinating. Either way, Utah's a great place to learn how to navigate the worst that winter can throw at you. I'd never heard of or experienced a snow day until I moved to the D.C. area. We didn't have 'em in the Beehive State.

That said, we're approaching the days of panic and mayhem that descend on D.C. when even the smallest of flakes falls within 50 miles of the metro area. One of my favorite columists is a guy at the Salt Lake Tribune named Robert Kirby who writes a wry and dead-on column mostly about Mormon culture, foibles, and "oxy-mormons." This week, however, he's written about the most important thing to know about driving in the snow: SLOW DOWN.

(This is also good advice for rainy days, as well. And this is part of why I live in the city. So I don't have to be out there driving in crappy weather with all you crappy drivers who each think you're more important than those around you and you're just all fired up convinced that you, and you alone, were born to be first. The rest of us be damned! God forbid that we slow down a little and show each other a bit of safe and courteous consideration. But I digress.)

Here, for your reading pleasure, is his column. Why it's in the Food Section of the Trib, heaven only knows. Perhaps his writing is meant to be mental food for thoughtful consumption. Enjoy.

And slow down!


Swizzies said...

That SLOW DOWN thing cuts both ways though. Don't you recall the traffic clusters from HELL that occurred in the Bay Area the minute one drop of rain fell from the sky? Traffic moved so slowly, it once took me 45 minutes to get from my office to my home - less than two miles, and not involving any freeways! However, I do know that Beltway crowd drive like maniacs, so a little slow down can go a long way there. :-)

Janet M. Kincaid said...

I do, but it's better than what we have around here: people who SPEED UP in bad weather. A friend of mine who just moved here from the Bay Area said she had the most harrowing, white-knuckled commute experience of her life several weeks ago. It was pouring torrential buckets and there were people whizzing by her at 70+ mph on the Beltway. She said it scared the crap out of her--and this from a woman who used to commute from Palo Alto to San Jose daily.

What's especially frightening out here are the people with 4WD or AWD SUVs/cars who think having 4WD means they can still drive fast in the snow. NO DUMMIES! It just means you have better traction and stability, but you still need to SLOW DOWN!

Of course the biggest problem out here is, we have so many people living here who are from states/countries where either a) it doesn't snow or b) they've never driven a car until they moved here and the result is mass chaos and panic. My favorite snow panic sight, though, is always the line of cars that people have abandoned by the side of the road. Which goes back to my point: if they'd slow down, they'd actually make it home safely. Getting out of your car, abandoning it, and walking puts you and everyone else in added danger.

Either way, when it snows around here, I stay home. I may able to navigate in the sticky stuff, but I'm smart enough to know I don't want to be around those who aren't.

By the way, Di--when is the Swiss Account going to get an update?

Swizzies said...

Lordy - I don't know. I don't have anything to say I guess. Or nothing appropriate for the Swiss Account, at any rate. ;-)