Thursday, February 11, 2010

White Death!

My friend Ted and I like to make fun of our local media's "snow hype" and the frenzy of fear they whip up every time we're scheduled to receive an inch or two of snow. Last week a "major" storm promising the rather broad range of "a predicted 2-8 inches" of snow was due. For once, right on schedule, the snow started to fall on Friday morning (around 9:00 AM, thus robbing the area school children—and teachers—of a snow day).

"My God, woman! Do you have your bread and milk?" Ted screamed into my phone.

"I'm stocked," I swore. "Where are you? Are you working from home?"

"No, I went to work," he said. "And now the 'white death' is coming down!"

"Come home right now!" I said. "No, no, don't! It's too dangerous. Just stay in the office until Monday. Don't go outside! For anything!"

We end up laughing about the "terror" a little snow produces. Later that evening, Ted called and asked, "Are you okay? Have
you eaten the cat yet?"

"Not yet. But I might have to. I'm not leaving my house until April!"

"Thank God you have your bread and milk."

What is it about that bread and milk? That's what people are always stocking up on at the grocery before any predicted snow. Bread, milk, and beer.

I had to go the grocery store anyway on Thursday before the snow because I was out of cream for my coffee. I can't write without coffee, and I can't drink coffee without cream, so I blithely went to the grocery store in the middle of Thursday afternoon...and could not find a parking space to save my life. The place was SWAMPED. Carts piled high. I just don't get it. Even IF we got every inch of snow predicted, these people act as if we're going to be unable to leave our homes for weeks.

And what's with bread and milk? If I knew I couldn't leave my home for a week, is it bread and milk I'd crave? Nope. I'd stock up on chocolate, coffee, good books. Maybe a frozen pizza or two. Some Indian carryout. Popcorn. Jeni's ice cream. A good bottle of wine...

Maybe it's not terror at all. Maybe it's just wishful thinking. The thought of being snowed in for a week is actually so appealing to people that they can't help themselves but to rush out and prepare. We're all so busy, so over scheduled, and over connected. Maybe we're all looking for the one excuse everyone will accept for us to just go home and cocoon for a day or two.

You know? Sometimes it's like receiving a gift to get that "pass" that allows us to wipe the slate clean, cancel all evening plans, put on our jammies, and put marshmallows in our cocoa?

Maybe that's why so many buy into the "white death" terror. Snow's coming! Oh my God! Everybody go home and stay put (it's what we all secretly want to be ordered to do)!

Mother Nature does what Mother Nature does. No need to panic or bemoan her actions. I say, let's just enjoy it, savor the beauty and the slower pace, and relish a little hibernation at home with our bread and milk.


  1. I'd like to be able to say that we take our snow-predictions in stride here in Minnesota. And it's true that we don't start a mob at Cub Foods unless we're promised 10" or more (beer is a Minnesota winter necessity regardless). What gets me is how much people COMPLAIN about the snow here. Good grief--we live in MINNESOTA. Go to Florida if you want sunshine before May.

  2. Being from a southern town on the coast, we get MAYBE one inch of snow every five or so years. I went to Virginia for this past month... and we got over 14 inches... over night. I was amazed when people were driving to work, going to the store, etc.

    I just got back to my little southern abode, and we're supposed to get maybe an inch of snow tomorrow. The stores were completely packed, and everyone is closing down for the night. I find is hilarious now..... because I now know what to do, and they are still clueless.