For most of my life, I’ve been in Ohio during winter. Every winter, the same thing happens.
It gets dark earlier. It gets colder. We start wearing layers, turning on our furnaces, cleaning out our fireplaces, and finding the cranny where we stashed our flannel sheets.
It’s all pretty routine and straightforward. Then a little insanity begins. We start watching the weather reports. Until late fall, we pretty much figure out what the weather is by going outside. When Thanksgiving rolls around, we start to watch the people on TV who tell us when it’s going to rain, sleet, ice, snow, be windy, or just be darned cold. Thanks to modern technology, we can get weather alerts on our phones and emails. For twenty consecutive days, I received an email alert every six hours that, when opened, said there was going to be really cold weather.
It was January in Ohio. I kind of thought it might be cold. I didn’t need alerts to tell me to be careful, carry a blanket in my car, or not to drive because there was an inch of ice on the roads under the inches of snow. The 6-hour alerts started to annoy.
Perhaps there are folks who need those reminders, I don’t know. What I do know is that as soon as the meteorologist says snow is “coming,” people in the near vicinity start to act nuts.
They panic. Immediately, folks run to clear out the grocery store. If you had planned to shop on a day when snow is predicted and you need milk, bread, or hamburger, you will be lucky to find any, because people stock up on these things. Some folks think that a prediction of 2 – 3 inches of snow will require us to remain stranded in our homes for weeks. The stretch of road on which we live is the last in the county to be plowed, yet we’ve rarely been stuck at home for more than 24 hours.
Many complain about the weather. They accept the worst weather report they’ve heard (even if it’s from Vermont or Wisconsin) and loudly proclaim it to anyone in earshot.
They forget how to drive – don’t slow down, don’t use their headlights, don’t signal turns, and don’t stay in their lane. The worst behavior is that some folks don’t warm up their car or carry a scraper and certainly don’t stand outside in the cold to use a scraper if they have one. This means that they drive looking through a three-inch circular hole in the ice on their windshield. They are oblivious to the fact that snow and ice chunks are blowing off their car and onto other cars, sometimes causing difficulty that needn’t have occurred.
I could say more about the wild winter behavior, but as I write this, I just got a notified that some snowfall is expected tomorrow. I guess I’d better scrape the car, gather firewood, and go to the grocery.
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Sue is a retired public servant who volunteers at the Hospice store (For All Seasons) in Troy and teaches part-time at Urbana University. She keeps busy taking care of husband, house, and pets. She and her husband have an adult son who lives in Troy.