Thursday, January 15, 2009

Speed the Plow

What is the play "Speed the Plow" about anyway?


It surely isn't about a Midwestern capital city (and its suburban satellite cities) that overreact to a perfectly acceptable level of January snow and begin cancelling things left and right is it? Oh, wait, no, that was my Wednesday afternoon.


You would think, would you not, that a city firmly within the North and not at all unaccustomed to the actuality of frozen precipitation in the depths of calendric winter would be able to live with the weather patterns that define it. But for reasons that I'll speculate on later, it seems that Capital City mid-Ohio is not willing to live with its meteorological lot in life and insists on thinking that it is Hawaii or something like that.

Let me begin near the beginning . . .

Today, at least, the weathermen got it right. They had forecast up to four inches of snow throughout Wednesday as the temperature dropped into the single digits. And snow it did, building up while I was at work this morning. There was about three inches of snow on the ground by noon and a steady but not overwhelming snowfall continued throughout the day.

But at lunch, Lynda leans over to me and asked if I had heard that the local city schools were going to be closing an hour early to allow kids to get home before roads got worse. I said that no, I had not heard anything because . . . well, it was only three or so inches of snow. That isn't blizzard level is it? But, when I got back to my desk after lunch I checked the school's Web site and, yes, indeed, kids were being released an hour early.

Again, I just don't understand. It is SUPPOSED to snow up here. My taxes pay for the plows that are supposed to keep the streets passable in all but severe storms--and this is NOT a severe storm. Additionally, we are talking about suburban schools that are on local roads, surrounded by houses. We aren't out in the Ohio hinterland where plows are few and far between and roads can indeed become treacherous.

But, I can't fight city hall--especially on only one hour's notice. So, I packed up my work bag, my laptop, and my anger and headed home with the kids. The roads were nicely plowed and quite drivable. I saw one accident near the daycare but it HAD to have been due to stupidity, not the weather. People just don't respect the necessity of driving cautiously--even in the simplest of weather changes.


Once I got home I shoveled the two-and-a-half or three inches of snow accumulated in the driveway. And I had to do it again after dinner to clear out the another inch-and-a-half that fell during the afternoon.

There is something oddly satisfying about having a shoveled driveway. It is yet another status marker in suburbia. Because my house's driveway is on a slope, I have to be vigilant about keeping it clean, lest the slippery angle make it hard to get from the road to the garage. So I might shovel mine more often than others do, but even so, you look askance at an unshoveled driveway in the winter, just as you look down your nose at unmowed grass in the summer.

And besides, the sharp edges of the piled up snow drifts on either side of a shoveled driveway and along a sidewalk bespeaks an orderly house. (Perhaps it also tickles that former part of me that studied archaeology and attended field school during college.)

So, my driveway is clean and ready to freeze over a hard as a skating rink tonight. If my garage door motor doesn't freeze itself shut tomorrow, I'll be at work on time.


One more significant complaint about the schools being released early today. When I got Sarah from elementary school, she informed me that the kids went to a play today . . . during the morning hours . . . while the snow was falling thickest . . . to downtown Columbus!

What about safety? What about weather conditions? W . . . T . . . F!!!

Now I'm moving on.

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