Thursday, February 5, 2009

Let it snow!

Yesterday I had to cancel a board meeting of the Friends of the Edison, NJ Public Library (of which I am president) because of the snow. The snow was not particularly bad but we were expecting more in the late afternoon and early evening, and it was going to be very cold. Some of the members are seniors, and some have mobility issues. In addition, we did not have a whole lot to talk about, so to drag everyone out seemed a little foolish. Some schools in Edison closed or were opening a little later than usual. My daughter's preschool was operating as normal, however, so I took a push broom to my van, while warming it up, so I could pick her up (my Wife takes her in).

I admit it, I hate snow intensely and always have. I seem to recall telling other kids at school that I was allergic to snow, in an attempt to put them off pelting me with snowballs. Here in New Jersey, the summers are warmer than England (and more humid), and the winters are colder, so I have to live with it. At least I work from home, so I rarely have to go out in the snow. My Wife, brought up in Michigan, does not have any problem with the snow, or driving in it. On a recent trip to my Mother-in-Law's in Grand Rapids, Michigan for Christmas, I drove the non-snowy parts. My Wife drove the parts of the journey where the snow was worse - with me sitting white-knuckled in the passenger seat. I remember on my first trip to visit my in-laws that my Wife took the car up a very steep snow-covered hill a few blocks away from the family home, just for a lark, with me panicking all the way. My four-year old daughter has inherited my Wife's snow-genes, as she regularly demonstrates when we arrive home in the snow, and she takes off into the back yard to frolic. I am usually standing on the back step yelling for her to come back in.

Britain, especially England, is not used to much snow. However, it has had some the last few days. As is usual when Britain gets snow, the country pretty much stopped. Airports and other transportation closed down and so did the schools. Snow shut down London. The media was full of it. There were stories about how to cope with the snow (complete with ridicule from colder, snowier countries). Website Londonist had the headline Snow Bonkersness. The Daily Mail, in typical Daily Mail fashion, focused on business leaders' anger at school closures with their story entitled Frozen out by health and safety: Third day off lessons as schools close 'because children might get ice in their eyes'. There were sad stories, and there were plenty of wonderful photos.

The reason why Britain is never prepared for the snow is purely down to economics. It is because it hardly ever happens. Those same Daily Mail readers would have thrown a hissy-fit if a few weeks ago, Boris Johnson (The Mayor of London) had been spending money on snowploughs or if the railway services had increased fares in order to buy equipment for de-icing the rails.

Are you a snow-fan or snow-wimp? Are you going to be out in it, or inside drinking hot-chocolate? Please let me know by posting a comment.


Anonymous said...

I think the snow is beautiful, but also frightening. I went to college at Ohio State, and there were several injuries my freshman year. One guy completely shattered all the bones in one arm when he fell on ice. I had an 8:30 class that winter and the sidewalk outside the building my class was in had a huge marble design that was terrifying with even a little snow. Ohio winter + marble sidewalk = scariest walk ever.

I have to admit I love when it's cold and snowy outside and I get to stay inside and drink coffee and look at it from the window. If I could stay inside completely, winter would be my favorite time of year. This winter it's been especially icy and I'm scared to take the dog outside sometimes. I've already fallen on ice once this year.

Graham said...

Actually, I do have a fond snow memory. My honeymoon was in West Virginia in March. We were in a little Bed & Breakfast halfway up a mountain. For part of the stay we were snowed in. It was, I have to say, wonderful snow. My Wife finally persuaded me to go out in it. There was a wonderful quality to the air. You couldn't hear a thing apart from your own footsteps. The snow was powdery and dry too.

Right at the moment here, the snow is wet, and there's a lot of ice. Our driveway has been like an ice-rink at times.