Oh, The Weather Outside Is Frightful
I looked at the weather forecast at work today and damn near fell out of my chair (from surprise, not drunkenness). We’ve got a 70% chance of precipitation tonight with a low of 32 degrees Fahrenheit. For those of you with brain damage (or on the metric system) that means one thing: Snow! Of course some of you are no doubt sick and fucking tired of snow (I’m looking at you, Buffalo!), but down here in Phoenix snow is rare enough that we enjoy it, especially since we don’t have to shovel it, remove it from our rooftops before it crushes us, or dig through it to find the frozen carcasses of loved ones.
While discussing the prospect earlier, someone said to me, “Can you imagine what this town would be like if we got an inch of snow?” Actually, I can. An inch of snow in this town would cause all of the following to happen:
50% of the cars on the road would immediately crash into the other 50% of cars on the road. 99.9998% of Arizona residents are from somewhere else. There are four meth cooks who were born and raised in Arizona, and that’s it. Everyone else is from Scranton, Pennsylvania or some such place. Because of this, we actually have people in the state who have experience driving in snow, not that it would do any good. When you move to Arizona, you immediately forget how to drive in any condition other than perfect.
One year (I actually did this), I kept track of how long my daily commute took me when it was sunny, and how long it took when it was overcast (but not raining). Over the course of six months, the data proved that Arizona drivers drive 10% slower when they think that it might rain at some point in the near future. Think about that for a second: People are driving down the road when they think to themselves, “Hmmm, there are clouds 20,000 feet above me. I better slow down.” Fucking morons.
People drive like idiots down here when the weather is good. People drive like idiots who have been struck on the head repeatedly with a croquet mallet when the weather looks like it might be bad later on. If the weather actually took a turn for the worse and dumped an inch of slippery stuff on the roads, hundreds of thousands would die, and 911 would receive a record number of emergency calls to report an out of control Cadillac on the 4th floor of a Children’s hospital.
My kids wouldn’t appreciate it. When I was a kid, snow was a wondrous thing, and not just because it sometimes resulted in not having to go to school. In 1979, a major blizzard hit the metropolitan Chicago area, with high winds whipping over two feet of new fallen snow into monumental drifts so high that you could walk on them right up onto rooftops. We lived on a cul-de-sac, and the snowplows (when they eventually came), plowed the snow into a circular ring of snow mountains almost twenty feet high. We fought valiant snow wars on those mountains; Empires rose and fell, alliances were formed and broke apart in acrimony, and younger brothers were flung headlong to their doom. It was kick-fucking ass.
If that happened today, my kids would briefly look up from their Nintendo DS and grunt. Maybe. Snow just can’t compete with blowing virtual beings into bloody bits. Not that I blame them. When I was a kid, this was the hot game:
I remember in 1978 asking for Merlin for Christmas and not getting it because it cost too much. I accepted this with good grace and learned a valuable lesson about fiscal responsibility. Hahaha, just kidding. I bawled my eyes out and learned that my parents were fucking cheapskates. But I did get Merlin the next year, and was captivated for up to three whole minutes by the many different game modes, all of which simply displayed a red light and went “Boop!” It’s a good thing for my parents that it snowed a lot that winter, because they may have had a mutiny to deal with otherwise.
People at work would never stop talking about it. Weather is a popular source of small talk at the office because it’s something that everyone shares, and it’s unlikely to be the source of contentious debate. You don’t talk about shit like gun control because invariably one person will say, “Did you know that there is a 43% chance that a baby will be shot in the head as it is being born? Guns need to be banned!”, and then another person will say, “No, we should arm babies in the womb so that they have a fighting chance! If you ban guns in maternity wards, the only people that will have them are criminals in maternity wards!”
So people stick to the weather. You’re very unlikely to run across someone who will claim that humidity is a myth perpetuated by the liberal media. It’s a safe topic. And because it’s safe, people in the office will never shut the fuck up about it.
Employee: Hey, did you see the weather forecast?
Other Employee: Yes! It’s going to be (pick one) surprisingly cold/moderate/ball-scorching hot tomorrow!
Third Employee: I know! It’s so (pick one) similar/different to the weather we’ve been having for the past three months!
Yet Another Employee: And did you see the forecast for the day after that?
This conversation will go on and on for hours, attracting huge mobs of people eager to talk in great detail about how the weather is either staying the same or changing in some way.
My own personal research US Department of Labor statistics show that discussing the weather is the number three cause of productivity loss in the workplace, behind only photocopying genitalia, and viewing online photos of Lindsay Lohan’s snatch.
Someone will make a giant snow-dong in their front yard. And I’ll admire my handiwork until an out of control Cadillac runs it over.
I echo every single one of your sentiments! People in So Cal drive like dimwitted Steinbeck characters when its raining in San Fran, and mountainous snow castles from plows are a wondrous thing, which also make excellent igloo tunnels.
Of course, its different as an adult in the midwest. Its not all snowballs & frozen dong. The breaking point for me was coming home each work night after 8-9 pm, to the disdainful judgmental glares of your neighbors, only to find multiple citations stuck in your door for failure to shovel the 4 inches of snow that fell that same morning. Then you do the only smart thing:
Buy a first edition “Of Mice and Men” and a plane ticket and get the hell out of dodge.
ENJOY your snow, land of Az.
The difference between snow when you’re young ans snow when you’re old in a nutshell:
My brother and I decided to take advantage of the microscopic hill in our back yard to make a bobsled run. We painstakingly graded the snow, sculpted the sides of the run, and put the runner sled on the top where it promptly punched through the snow and sank to the ground.
Clearly what we needed was some ice! So we hooked up the garden hose and started spraying everything down with water.
My dad heard the water running and came outside and had a total meltdown, something about freezing pipes, expensive plumbing repair, blah, blah, blah.
To us, snow was an opportunity to use our imagination and have fun! To my dad, it was just one more way in which we could ruin the house.
I lived in Rogers Park during the blizzard of ’79. It was just awesome, we were out of school for an entire week. That never happens in Chicago! Us kids had an elaborate tunnel system running for blocks. I remember one foolhead neighbor left the windows on one side down in his car and it was full to the roof with snow. People were skiing down the sidewalks. Paradise!
That was my last summer in Chicago and it was a blast. In previous years the winters landed both my brother and me in the hospital with ice sliding related injuries – his a broken arm and mine a kneecap ripped completely open – a scar I bear to this day. With Chicago pride.
I remember being out of school for a week as well, which was beautiful beyond description.
Not everyone had so much fun, however. A lady was driving down Route 14 (Northwest Highway) a few miles from my house, and because of the whiteout conditions drove off an overpass and plunged 40 feet into a huge snowdrift. They found her in March.
Other than that, though, total blast!
I’ve done quite a few business trips to Phoenix. I cannot imagine the commute being any worse. I also remember waking every morning and flinging my motel curtains open to see whether it was going to be a sunny day. After day three, it finally occurred to me — “Well, DUH. It’s always nice here.” My last trip there was five months pregnant. I. Thought. I. Was. Going. To. Die.
But seriously, SNOW?
Yeah, false alarm this time. But it does happen. Last time was about 5 years ago, and a portion of Mesa had about an inch stick around for a few hours.
My wife has gone through an entire summer preggers. Not a lot of fun from the looks of it.
I do remember how to drive in snow, although it is extremely unlikely I will ever see snow again, or throw a snowball or build a snowman or make snow angels. That’s a bit sad, but I can go to the beach and make sand angels any time of year. You brought back some winter memories for me, even though it was 34 degrees Celcius today.
Yeah, we’ve got a cold snap going on, even though it will get up to 65. Winters down here are beautiful. I remember talking to a friend in Chicago, and he commented that it was 24 below zero. It was exactly 100 degrees warmer in Phoenix, which made me laugh and my friend curse.
I wouldn’t have a clue as to how to drive in the snow. In fact, I would automatically assume snow means everyone stays at home. No work or school on snow days, right?
I would have been down with that plan when I lived in Chicago. As it is, I just bitch that everything should be closed in Phoenix when it’s hotter than 110.
Vancouver is bizarre too. It rains here 95% of the time, but people still can’t figure that shit out. Idiot drivers abound. It snows here 0.002% of the time… and people seem to think that’s a better driving situation than rain. I swear they speed up to outrun snowflakes.
And that’s how some dickhole slid down an alley, across a street, and totaled my Mazda last year.
What’s really awesome here is a thunder storm. Coastal people are nuts (I’m from the Prairies where there’s crazy-ass storms every 27 minutes year-round). These people run to the windows to watch fucking lightning. All my co-workers plaster themselves to the windows for each of the two or three decent light shows we get each year. I use those moments to go through their desks and steal office supplies.
I once had a roommate (Chris Isaak’s cousin, of all people) who was from San Francisco. He came in the house one day, drenched from a downpour.
“I was just walking down the street when all of a sudden I was getting dumped on. What the fuck?”
“Yes, that’s called rain, see…”
“It just rains like that out here? With no warning?”
He was used to the weather coming from one direction, and everyone having lots of warning when precipitation was imminent. The Midwest don’t play that fucking game.
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