Saturday, January 30, 2010

First Snow in Charlotte

Well yesterday about 4 o'clock the temperature dropped, the clouds opened up and snow began to fall here in Charlotte. And today, for the first time in my life, scraped thick pieces of ice off my front porch with a garden hoe.

What I've learned about the relationship between the South and snow is that Southerners tend to freak out just a little bit when it starts to snow. Granted, I'm from California, so I'm not used to the snow that much either. But when snow starts to flurry in Charlotte everything shuts down. People don't go out. Businesses are closed.

There are a lot of Northerners living in Charlotte and most of them snicker a little. "This isn't snow," they say. For me, the snow is pretty fun. I was actually looking forward to the challenge of getting in the car and driving to work (Run For Your Life was open!). There were warnings on the internet about going out. I noticed that the Harris Teeter (east coast equivalent to Ralphs or Vons) was packed with people the day before the snow as if folks expected to be trapped in their homes for a week, with drifts piled up around the door, unable to get good access to bread or milk.

I completely understand that the roads are icy and can be dangerous. It's probably a good idea to stick close to home. I drove around town. I just made sure I drove slow. That's it. Just drive slow.

Back home, the fog is the serious weather issue during this time of the year. Tule Fog (pronounced too-lee) can get so bad that you can't see past the hood of your car. Every year the news broadcasts highway accidents and pile-ups of 60 cars or more.

My wife and I ate dinner out, drove to a friend's house and returned home just in time to see two people sledding down our frozen street in the dark. So cool. One of them made it almost the entire length of our street, lying down on the sled, while the other stood at the other end and yelled "Car!".

I'll limit my driving tomorrow if I can and do my best to watch out for the nut who's driving his SUV too fast, thinking that he'll be ok because he's got an SUV. And I'll try to make it to the store to get some bread, milk and rock salt for the slick porch.

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