This is a re-post from last year because... well... here we go again. "You can never be too careful." I think that's the state motto here. If you live anywhere in the U.S. you're undoubtedly aware of the blizzards that have been wreaking havoc over much of the Country the past several weeks. Even if you're not in the U.S., it's been pretty big news. I realized this week that "wreaking havoc" is a subjective term. To me, having lived my whole life until 8 years ago in the Northeast, "wreaking havoc" is what's happened in Massachusetts: Snow drifts up to the second floor windows, roofs caving under the weight of the snow. Now, let me introduce to you to the North Carolina "blizzard" I'm experiencing now. (Oh, did I type "blizzard" in quotation marks? I wonder how that happened.)
Here they have psychological blizzards. Instead of mounds and mounds of snow piling up, they have mounds and mounds of paranoia piling up. They don't deal in inches here. They deal in hallucinations.
Monday, the local news started talking about the big storm that was coming. It was due at 4:30 pm. Everybody synchronize your watches. We all remembered last year when there was little warning and there was a storm and we all got screwed. I for one was stuck on the side of the highway for four hours. I read magazines, vented to my husband via cellphone and drank lots of water to keep hydrated, followed by-- Let's just say there's one water bottle I'll probably never drink from again.
So when these weather alerts happen here, we never know whether or not to take them seriously. So this past Monday, early afternoon, the masses flocked out of work. Schools let out early. The roads were packed with residents trying to get home ahead of the storm. Everybody stopped just long enough to get gas, batteries, water, milk, eggs, bread, propane, logs, and a back-up generator... every must-buy for your average two month hibernation... Meanwhile, we were in line at the supermarket buying yogurt, raisins, and salad dressing. I said to my husband: "Oh yeah. We're prepared."
And the reports were pretty accurate about the time of the storm. A freezing rain started promptly at 4:36 pm... And ended promptly at 4:45 pm. To which my husband proclaimed, looking out the window:
"The Nor'easter of 2015 has finally passed."
But the paranoia had just begun.
On Tuesday, the entire state of North Carolina turned their sign around to "closed". The governor declared a state of emergency. TVs beeped warnings. Cell phones beeped warnings. Schools were shuttered for the rest of the week. Every report was the same: "Too treacherous." "Don't go out unless absolutely necessary".
They claimed that that itty bitty spit of sleet that had fallen on Monday had frozen on the pavement. For five days all we heard was: Black ice. Patches. Bridges. Turn into the skid. Wear layers. Check on pets and old people. Churches are closed. Schools are closed. Closed, closed, closed. McDonald's was open but, be careful, the drive-thru is very slippery. Last night there was a nine car pile-up at the pick-up window.
Cars were going down embankments. Tractor trailers were turning over in drainage ditches. By Wednesday I couldn't take it anymore. Against the better judgment of everyone on the local weather report, I threw on my cloak and ventured out into the icy wilderness of Arendelle. I fully expected it to be like that episode of Little House on the Prairie when they were trekking through a blizzard and you knew none of the non-regular characters had a snowball's chance in hell of making it home.
I was the only car on the road: The dry, dusty, not-a-speck-of-wet-in-sight, couldn't-be-any-drier road. I paused for a moment to let a tumbleweed roll by.
I made my way to a nail place that had the decency to be open. Two women were commiserating about the miseries of the current weather. Rear-wheel drive is not good in this weather. Trucks aren't good in this weather. Weather? What weather? Where was there weather?
I'm not sure what it is. Either people here are watching too much Weather Channel or too many Disney movies.