Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Great Blizzard of '09!

The Great Blizzard of '09!

In Chicago if every single media outlet is awash in stories about an incoming snow storm that is sure to incapacitate the area you can be pretty sure that there will be no snowfall of mythic community paralyzing proportion. In fact, the next day's news will pretty much be filled with newspeople chattering about how we missed seventeen feet worth of snow by thiiiiiis much.

Last evening's news was filled with predictions of white-outs and a snowbound Chicago, and what was the result? I've had dandruff that put the evening's accumulation to shame.

On top of it, I have no idea why anyone in Chicago even cares if we do get hit by a blizzard that would drop a foot-plus of snow on top of us. It's not like we get snow days? Last night I was grousing that as an adult in this city there is never enough snow to actually close any office I've ever worked.*

Instead, the heavier the snow, the earlier you need to leave to account for slow travel times ... and the longer you'll work since there's no point in leaving the office when everyone is trying to travel home at the same time ten hours later. (And it's no better for kids ... due to our mayor's past and recently rediscovered desire to retain political office, the city's extremely aggressive street clearing plans mean that even this tiniest tyke is going to have to report to homeroom when the kids in outlying counties are building snow forts.)

So forgive me if we don't get sucked into hysterical new stories urging us to stock up on supplies, and forgive us if you can hear us sneering at friends in NYC or D.C. or Boston who talk of offices closing at the threat of six inches of snow. We in the urban Midwest (I am also peering your way, my eben crazier Minnesota sisters and brothers) are made of surprisingly hardier stuff. Tell me there's a foot of snow coming our way and we will laughg in your face.

However, those days with high of -3° to -11° F that are being predicted for later this week? That kind of news scares our pants off! (Insert laughter from our Canadian cousins ... here.)

*O.K., there was that ONE blizzard back in -- what, '98ish? -- where the city got hit by almost two feet of snow no one saw coming and everything actually did shut down for one day. That was magical.

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