It totally cracks me up. The mere idea of winter sends many of my fellow Texans into a panic. It is likely that there will be school closings tomorrow - simply because a possibility exists that winter weather may or may not rear its cold, icy head in the wee hours of the morning. How ever will we survive? If plants cannot endure the potential for frost, how can we be expected to? Better stock up on canned food, toilet paper and beer!
Now, it is conceivable that I find all this so amusing because I spent ten years living in the north east (where winter is more of a way of life, rather than a freakish phenomenon). I learned how to drive during the Blizzard of ’96 in Maryland, survived four winters in Syracuse, New York (where the snow is deep and the chill bitter, yet no one has ever heard of a “snow day”), and even lived to tell the tale of the Presidents’ Day Blizzard in Washington, DC. So, panicking simply because it is expected to drop into the mid to upper 30s doesn’t really alarm me at all. Call me crazy…
On the other hand, it does bother me to no avail that I live in a place where it frequently goes from the mid to upper 70’s (i.e. today) to highs hovering just above freezing (i.e. tomorrow). That seems a bit much.
That said, though, I do derive a lot of pleasure from watching everyone freak out over temperatures falling below 32 degrees. I have a vivid memory of being in Syracuse and breaking out the shorts and flip-flops during a 35 degree “heat wave” one March. It’s certainly different now that I live in Texas. I now shiver if it drops below 65. Sad, I know. How quickly our bodies forget! In college, we kept our apartment at a toasty 56 degrees all winter long. We’d watch TV on the couch while wearing our hats, coats and scarves to counter the effects of the winter wind. Yes, we were inside, but our apartment was a little…uh…drafty. Despite a thorough job taping plastic up in front of all the windows, the wind could not be stopped. Luckily, with every gust the plastic would inflate, giving fair warning to all couch-goers that a chilly blast of air was heading our way. Brace yourselves, dear penguins…
Speaking of Syracuse, they have the most amazing snow removal system in the world. No kidding. I’ve never seen anything like it. The roads are all clear and salted within an hour or two of any winter weather event – even the back roads and side streets. They have it down to a science up there. Now, if only someone could convince them that an elevated highway (that goes from four lanes outside the city to two within the city, and makes sharp 90 degree turn) in an area that expects an average of 112 inches of snowfall a year was, say, a bad idea they’d be well on their way.
Washington, DC, though, not so much. Snow falls there and the entire city shuts down. Your street may or may not be cleared before summer hits and the snow melts on its own. This is okay, however, because it isn’t like you have anywhere to go. All the schools are closed, work has been cancelled, the metro can’t run – heck, even the government gets the day off until the snow situation is rectified. It was days like this I was really happy that I owned a PlayStation. Otherwise I’m sure I would have gone stir-crazy.
At least in DC there WAS snow. In Dallas that rarely ever happens. Once, when I was four, it snowed and I spent hours trying – desperately – to make a snowman. This was much easier said than done and required most of the snow in the neighborhood to complete. When I was finally finished, I had a snow man that barely made it up to my waist. Pathetic, but true. Even worse: he melted before dinner.
Don’t believe me?...Here, these old photos tell the entire tale (hold mouse over images to see my commentary):
Ironically, despite a decade up north, I have yet to see a white Christmas. I have always come home for the holidays, and – as already established – it doesn’t do a lot of snowing down here. Maybe one day I’ll get a chance, but I’m not holding my breath that it’ll happen while I am still living in the big-D. My chances are probably better to be eaten by a Great White Shark while swimming in White Rock (and WHY would I EVER go swimming in there?! Ew!).
My consolation prize, however, is that I get to watch a winter-weary Texas work itself into a frenzy over the mere possibility of a brief dip below freezing. With any luck, DISD will overreact and close for the day (DISD closes, the museum closes), and I’ll get to sleep late. What a wonderful mid-week treat that would be! Totally unnecessary, but a nice idea nevertheless.