We’re naming winter storms now.
I don’t know exactly when this started, but it seems to be a somewhat recent phenomenon. Winter storms – i.e. temporary fits of snow and wind – are now being categorized the same way as hurricanes. The weather people give them ridiculous monikers like “Ivan” and “Gertrude” and try to convince us we need to stock up on toilet paper and bottled water to prepare for their impending doom.
I realize it’s not technically “winter” anymore, but this harlot named Mother Nature seemingly does not. As I write this, we’re currently celebrating Winter Storm Yogi (actual name) in Colorado, which proves that yes, no matter how farfetched the storm names are, there’s always room for improvement. The snow is piling up – probably a foot or so by now – and isn’t supposed to stop for three days. Of course, the temperature was supposed to stay warm enough that the snow wouldn’t stick to the ground during Winter Storm Yogi, but here it is – sticking. This is a stark contrast to last week’s winter storm (presumably named Xena) in which the snow was supposed to pile up high, but ended up not sticking. The locals like to bring this comparison up in conversation to point out the hypocrisy of the forecasts, to which we all have a good laugh and shake our heads at the absurdity of it all.
People love talking about snow. It could be a product of our deeply-ingrained human need to complain, or an easy conversation go-to that works well to avoid the dreaded awkward silence, but whatever the reason, we seem to revere it more than we do Hall & Oates (which is SAYING something). When weather hits – rain, sleet, wind, even a sunny day – it sparks up discussion in coffee shops and Twitter feeds nationwide. But snow, it seems, is the king of weather-related musings. Snow gets us going.
The conversation comes in many formats. Consider:
– Old guys. Really, anyone over the age of 50 who is sitting or standing somewhere with at least one other person of the same age group. These folks generally respond to snow by asking each other small questions to which they already know the answer.
Guy #1: (gazing out a window) “Sure is coming down out there.”
Guy #2: “Sure is.”
Guy #1: “Any idea when it’s supposed to stop?”
Guy #2: “Channel 9 said ‘round 7 tonight.”
Guy #1: “That’s what Channel 4 said too.”
Guy #2: “Sure does make driving tough, but we need it.”
Guy #1: “We need the moisture.”
Guy #2: “Exactly. We need the moisture. The moisture will help.”
Guy #1: “Yep. We need it.”
Listening to two old guys talk about precipitation, you’d think we had a permanent global moisture shortage. I’m never sure what the actual need is referencing, but no matter the location or current climate, the adult males of America are always convinced rain or snow are 100% vital for something.
– Kids. A far cry from the previous category, kids have no use for concepts like “need” or “moisture,” they just want to f’ing play. Snow is usually a welcomed sight for children, because it can lead to school closures and/or conditions ripe for building snowmen and snow forts. And sledding. And snowball fights. And pretty much everything else that is awesome. Just open up the front door and watch the little rascals run through it with unbridled joy, celebrating the fluffy gift from the heavens by jumping in it and making a snow angel. Kids keep it real. We could learn something from them.
– Complainers. These people delight in the opportunity to bitch about anything, so a snowy day is their time to shine. The key is overblowing a mildly irritating situation to make it seem as though it ruined their lives. “I got stuck TWICE on the way to work today. It took me almost TWO HOURS” they’ll say after a light dusting of a half an inch, ignoring the fact that a matchbox car could probably get through that much snow just fine. It also seems to be lost on these people that they live in a place where, you know, it snows, and they should probably be prepared for and used to it.
– The east coast. When the east coast has inclement weather, we all endure it with them. National news networks run foreboding reports leading up to the winter storm, warning residents of the eastern seaboard (and probably the rest of the country, for solidarity) to stock up and hunker down. Power outages expected. Civilization could crumble. Mass chaos!
Of course it’s never that bad, and those weather intimidation tactics are the same ones used by news professionals across the country, it just seems to be louder when New York, Boston, and D.C. are involved. Probably because a lot of the paramount newsmakers reside on the east coast. It’s amusing, though, to see the way they scramble in anticipation of a foot or two of snow, when that type of snowfall is what the people of my native Minnesota just call “Tuesday.”
– Social Media Folks. I don’t know what’s worse – announcing the status of the weather to the people who live in the same area as you, and thus already know what’s going on, or announcing it to the people that don’t live where you do, and thus don’t give a shit about your weather. But when you post it to social media, you’re doing both simultaneously.
– Skiiers/Snowboarders. These are the children of the adult world. They love when it snows, and actually prefer it just never stop. Driving in a blizzard? Aint shit to them. They just strap their skis and boards to the top of their 1989 Subaru’s and head out to find the sick pow. It’s gonna be epic, bro.
This is what happens when it snows. As I look out my window, the snow is still coming down and is poised to make the next few days awfully inconvenient, but I’m trying not to get too upset about it. After all, we need the moisture.