Tuesday, March 5, 2013

STOP SNOWTCHIN'!

I'm a Texan boy.  Not born but raised in south central Texas.  I got used to the idea that the weather would be one of two things - hot and/or sunny.  Yeah, the temperature would drop a bit and we would get sleet every once in a while but we had basically two season to contend with and I lived that way most of my life.

One of the things I looked forward to when I visited Chicago was the fact that I knew there were seasons here.  I saw leaves turning beautiful colors on trees in September.  I felt the cool breeze mix in with the muggy, hot air in August.  I felt the heat waves in the summer. And, of course, I felt and expected the bitter bite of the infamous Chicago winter.

The first year I moved here, I was in my 1 bedroom apartment right off the lake.  I remember watching the news where they predicted roughly 24" of snow would fall.  I had no idea what that looked like or what havoc that would wreak.  I hunkered down by going shopping for food and drinks and cranked the radiator in my place to maximum and waited for everything to shut down.  I could work from home that day if needed and would be comfortable.

When I woke up the next day, there was a lot of snow, but when I looked out at the street, there were cars on the road!  People were walking around as if nothing happened!  I couldn't believe it.  The city was functioning!  Plow trucks were cruising up and down Lakeshore Drive, the maintenance crew were putting salt down on the sidewalks, and people were digging their cars out and moving them.  I was in shock.  If this had happened in Texas, a whole lot of people would've died due to believing wholeheartedly that one can drive a huge pick-up truck at regular speed in snow and maintain control.  Those that were smart enough to stay in, would've been holed up for days.  Nope - not Chicago.  This city KNEW how to handle snow.

Or so I thought...

We've been having mild winters here over the last few years.  One or two major snowfalls but nothing more than maybe a quarter of an inch at times.  It's enough to be inconvenient but nothing to cry wolf about.

Or so I thought...

Last night the weather forecasters were predicting around 11" of snow to fall.  Schools cancelled, mothers double-wrapped their children in layers of clothing, sleds were polished to provide the best rides, carrots and coal reappeared for future snowmen, and people expected the worst to happen.  I had colleagues calling me up asking whether or not they brave the horrible driving conditions in the morning or just stay home.

All of this got me thinking.  We all live in Chicago, right?  Snow does fall here year after year, right?  the city, surrounding suburbs, state, and independent contractors have ways of removing snow, salting streets, and opening up passages, right?  Then why THE FAWK are people acting like the world is going to end because of some snow?!!!!  GROW A PAIR ladies and gentlemen!  Yes, it may snow.  Tough.  Deal with it.  Yes it sucks.  If you're able-bodied (which almost all of my peers are), get a cot damn shovel out and start moving the shite!  If you don't like the snow, MOOOOOOOOOVVVVVVEEEEE!  The best part was that NO REAL SNOW FELL IN MOST OF CHICAGOLAND!!!  All of this hoopla was created over nothing.

The level of bitching about snow has become so bad I wonder if my initial feeling about Chicago being a working man's city was incorrect.   As I saw on a recent internet post, complaining about snow while living in Chicago is like going to a strip club and complaining that you saw a breast.

To my fellow Chicagoland brother and sisters - the city turned 186 years old yesterday.  It's seen the best of times and the worst of times.  Help me change this undercurrent of dissatisfaction with our great city.  We are Chicagoans - start acting like it.

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