Eight days before Christmas and the world is set on its side --
the slushy, icy side of the Northwest where people lose all ability to think about anything other than how cold and Snowy it is outside.
Two days ago i set out for Beaverton when the first flakes of the season were falling. For the people in the Willamette Valley, this is cause for utter panic. At work we go wall-to-wall with our weather coverage -- as if people who are holed up in their homes aren't bored stiff and wishing for a couple good holiday movies to be on for the afternoon. For a Midwestern woman, it's simply cause to pack some gloves and a hat. On the first morning, i turned onto the first major street near my house, and on its six-block expanse were three groups of people just wishing to get hit. The roads and the sidewalks were all covered with the first fresh white half-inch of snow -- none of the roads had been cleared yet and had hardly been driven on either. The sidewalks were just as snowy as the roads, but no moreso. But three different packs of people chose to slide their way down the street -- where i was precariously driving -- instead walking on the sidewalk. I think that Willamette Valley people are so clueless to what snow can do, that they don't realize that someone approaching them on the street may run into them if they don't move out of the way. I wonder if any of them got hit.
I suppose this is one of the few times when i differentiate myself from people in the town where i live. I just don't get the freakouts. I was in the tire store this afternoon, getting a new set. Not of snow tires -- just plain old tires that needed to be replaced. But waiting in line with me were dozens of people, frantically getting snow tires installed for their treks around P-town for the winter. Most of these people will not be getting anywhere near the mountains, but their cars will roll around with studs and destroy the roads until April first. Another half of the people in line were there for chains. They too will be rolling around town with chains on, until the last flake of snow disappears from the highest elevations, where they dare not to drive anyway.
And i have to laugh when i see the funny-shaped snowmen in people's yards. The slumpy snowmen only come about by using all of the snow in the yard. Frosty's wonderland looks a little funny when he's the only bit of white for a hundred feet on any side.
The kiddo, by the way, is a Willamette Valley girl all the way. She called me when i arrived at work that first snow day, telling me all about what she and her grandma were going to do in the snow that day. "It's SNOWiiiiinnnnggg!!!" she said, utter amazement in her voice. Since then she's gotten into her snow garb every morning to roll around and make snow angels in the back yard. But she hasn't roped me into making a snowman yet. For this Willamette Valley mama -- it's just too cold for that.