Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Snowy Richmond

Richmond is a bit of a crap shoot when it comes to snow. On the one hand, you have the 25% or so that grew up in a snowier climate and know how to deal with it, and when it snows, it's no big deal. On the other, you have the 75% who know that occasionally there's this cold white stuff called 'snow' that falls from the sky, and have no freakin clue what to do.  The best part (or worst, if you're not cynical like I am) is that they all react in completely different ways.
First you have the people who think it's Armageddon, who stock up on 2 weeks' worth of non-perishables from the store at the slightest hint of a flurry.  Even though they mob the grocery store and make it difficult for the rest of us who are trying to shop, I actually like this group the best, since they typically barricade themselves in their homes and don't go out on the roads.  At least they're being safe.

Then you have the idiots who think that snow isn't any different from rain and you can drive like a maniac.  I spent my formative years in Pennsylvania and upstate New York, and I know how to drive in snow: I'm not terrified of it, but I know it's something to be respected and approached with more caution than rain.  These other idiots, though, throw caution to the wind and try to take an iced-over curve at 60mph, with predictable results.

Third, you have the people who are cautious to a fault, and sometimes actually make things more dangerous for the rest of us by doing so.  These are the people who creep 10-15mph down a road when 35-40mph would be quite safe.  My initial reaction is to be annoyed at these people (especially when I'm stuck behind one), although when it's on a city road or something similar I try to remind myself that they're doing all they can to be safe and I should be glad they're doing it.  Where I DON'T try to tolerate these people, though, is the interstate.  There is a reason there's a minimum 40mph on the highway, and it's because going extra slow actually makes it dangerous for everyone else.  If it's hours after the snow has stopped and the highway is just wet and you're still so terrified that you can't go more than 20mph, then you should not be driving on the interstate.

Finally, you have the people who just don't know what to do.  These are usually kind of comical.  Like the car I saw last year who didn't clear the 2 inches of snow off his windshield before taking his car out for a drive: I watched him drive 3 blocks with his head stuck out the driver's side window before he turned to a cross street.  Or the people who put their wiper blades up because everyone else is doing it, and then leave them up as they're driving.  Or the people who don't know how much salt to use and default to literally covering every square inch of their sidewalk with a 2-inch deep layer of salt.

In any case, if you can avoid the grocery store mob and don't get caught in traffic with someone who can't drive in snow, it's not all that bad.  It's pretty to look at, and it'll usually get you a day off of work :)

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