Friday, November 14, 2014

Nurse the Hate: Hate the Snowstorm

Today marked the first snow of the season.  Despite living in an area of the country which has six months of lousy weather, the entire population reacted as if this was the first time they had ever encountered snow.  All rules of the road went completely out the window.  Cars crawled down clean streets at 10 mph as if even the slightest bit of speed would fling the automobile off the road to a fiery death.  On the other side of the coin, flimsy mini vans barreled down unplowed highways at seventy miles an hour, swaying dangerously back and forth as they refused to give even an inch to the elements.  The combination of these two types of drivers made area roads impassible gridlock. 

The news media has swooped down on these minor inconveniences and all competed with each other to inflate the situation.  If anyone spends more than 10 minutes with local TV or radio, they will be sent into a frenzy to gather up water, canned goods, and weapons to try and wait out this White Death.  The level of hysteria is at Def Con4.  I don't think there would be a way to ratchet up the fever pitch.  For example, if an alien spaceship were to land in Public Square, I have no idea how The Fear Machine could get us all to another level.  "Hello Jan, we are at Public Square where this alien spacecraft has landed and aliens have marched out onto the streets.  The question on all of our minds is how will city snowplows get through the area by the spacecraft to apply salt?  We can only hope the aliens can be convinced to move their spacecraft so city vehicles can access this area, otherwise commuters may be looking at further delays.  Jan... What will this unprecedented two inches of snowfall mean for our weekend?"

It really points to the Culture of Fear that exists in the United States now.  In the good old days before 9/11, we knew to be afraid of those angry Russians who were waiting to launch nuclear missles at our homes at even the smallest provocation.  With the fall of the Iron Curtain, that left no scary foe until the ultimate boogieman in Terrorism guaranteed that an unseen and unknowable enemy would always be left lurking in the shadows to do terrible things to us.  There is so much energy spent trying to convince ourselves that we are unsafe at every waking moment.  Terrorists, exotic diseases, cyber predators, criminals, random shootings, defective consumer products... It never ends.  Now we have convinced ourselves that even the smallest snowfall is a risk factor along the lines of a tornado.

I hate to be the "back in my day" cranky guy, but if the shoe fits...  When I grew up in Erie PA here's what the newscast sounded like...  "There was a fire.  The economy is fucked up.  The local sports team lost.  We are getting 4 inches of snow tonight and maybe two more tomorrow.  Have a great night."  Everyone was accustomed to getting snow because that's what happens here.  You shoveled the shit out, and went about your business.  The wild eyed behavior that goes on here now would be like if you turned on the TV in Aruba, and the weather said "Holy mother of mercy!  It was 90 degrees today.  This blanket of death has no end in sight.  Gather water.  Try to find shade.  May the sweet Virgin Mother be with you all.." and then the screen goes to fuzz as general looting and chaos ensued.

I am poised to try to make it back to the general area where I live.  This is a mistake as I am positive that I will simply be stepping into gridlock.  My only silver lining is the recent acquisition of Bob Dylan and the Band's reissue of The Basement Tapes "Raw".  Bad news?  I am stepping into a chaotic evacuation of the city with little or no hope of getting to where I want to go.  Good news?  I will know every version of "Tiny Montgomery" and "Million Dollar Bash" by heart in about three hours.  God bless us.  Each and every one.



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