Ladies and gentlemen, recent days have seen almost unprecedented rhetoric bandied about on a national level. Our country is in the grip of a national hardship affecting the young and old alike. It has claimed lives; it has disrupted commerce; it has interrupted the gentle rythym of our entire existence. The hysteria is rising. Citizens across the nation are ratcheting up the rhetoric, with baseless allegations and a complete lack of understanding of anyone else’s condition. I’m referring, of course … to our recent snowstorms.
It was reported by the National Weather Service, although not verified by your Humble Narrator, my droogs, that 49 of the 50 states have snow on the ground. Don’t get cocky, Florida — you have plenty of problems of your own. In New York, they’re calling it “Snowpocalypse,” which I think is a clever if unoriginal epithet. They’ve gotten something like 28 inches of snow since Christmas. A storm dumped another 30 inches on New England yesterday. Dallas has gotten in on the act, as has the Northwest, which is getting buried in slush. My friends in Arizona are losing their minds because apparently water doesn’t evaporate instantly anymore.
What strikes me most about the whole situation is the way snow turns 350 million citizens into grumpy old people. Alison and I were driving home from Michigan a week and a half ago, straight into the first predicted killer storm on the eastern seaboard. Somehow, we got through encountering only flurries and arrived home to find that, once again, the DMV had lost its collective mind over nothing. But the national discourse reminds me of last year, when we got several feet of snow TWICE, separated only by a few weeks. My friends in Michigan, Illinois and Ohio scoffed that we didn’t know how to deal with it, that they’ve had snow for a month already, that the drifts are up to their second-story windows. You name the hyperbole, we’ve heard it.
Episodes like the C*H*I*Ps-style 52-car pile-up on I-95 last week don’t help our image, although I’d like to point out that I-95 is a major interstate artery and most of those people probably weren’t actually from Virginia or DC (my money is on Maryland or Jersey). It’s not like we don’t know how to enjoy a nice snow. We also recognize that people elsewhere have bad weather, too. We’d just like to vent a little when things get bad without hearing that we’re a bunch of babies.
An so, my message to our Midwestern brethren is this: We get it. You’re half polar bear. Now SHUT UP. I’m not permitted to claim that I am from Michigan (that’s another story), but I was born there, lived there for two several-year stretches, and have been back at least once a year my entire life. I don’t mind snow, and I’m not afraid to drive in it. But we live in a place that doesn’t budget or plan for snow removal, with aging infrastructure for electricity and heat, and a whole gaggle of fools who come from places even less accustomed to the snow than the nation’s capital. Just because you walked uphill both ways through blinding snow to get your Starbuck’s this morning doesn’t mean that we should be having fun and hitting you with virtual snowballs on Facebook. If we say that the weather sucks, it probably does. And even if it doesn’t, how many points did you ever score with a friend by telling them that they were whining about nothing?
And for those who don’t think our winters here offer enough to complain about, we’ll be happy to host you next August in our city built on a swamp. Come visit. As you lie there, eyes lolling back in your head as the temperature and relative humidity both climb well above 90, we’ll listen to your sweat gurgling in your shoes and accept your apology.