Friday, January 22, 2016

DC Snow Amateurs

It has been over 40 years since I worked in Washington, D.C. 

Back in those days, the municipal workers would drag a dead moose behind a pick-up truck in order to clear the roads. No, wait. That's another town. But the D.C. area's efforts were equally ineffective. I recall one highway looking like Napoleon's retreat from Moscow: cars piled up along the side (Napoleon had cars?) and general chaos. My car once did a diagonal icy skid across a few lanes - a move much admired in New Jersey - and the angels put me in front of an exit. I returned home via side roads lined by houses in which children were cheering because they knew they wouldn't have school for days.

A co-worker who'd lived in Maine was amused. He noted that Maine would have had the roads cleared within an hour. He refrained from observing that even if the roads were not clear, the hardy people of that state know how to drive in snow. And that sparks an observation. I suspect that one of the reasons why D.C. traffic is so bad after a mild snow storm is that the area is packed with carpetbaggers from sunny states who rarely had to grapple with the white stuff. It is not a location where people grew up slapping chains on tires and having heart attacks while shoveling sidewalks. The place has plenty of amateurs to muck up the roads and slow down the flow.

Fast-forward to today: I'm going to check the road outside my house here in Phoenix. Looks clear. I think I'll leave the chains at home.


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