Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The World is Coming to an End

Sorry I've been . . . absent. I've been preparing for the great storm. Maybe I'll eat my sarcastic words and we'll actually get a few feet and experience some power outages, but this girl is from the mountains and to me, snow is part of life, fun, awesome, and NOT to be feared. Respected, yes. Feared? No. This is my first winter in Maryland and it's a little surprising/shocking/appalling that school is cancelled because a few flakes are falling or there's an inch of snow on the ground. Frankly, I think it's ridiculous. A friend of mine from Utah told me recently that they got 12 inches of snow. People got out their shovels and went to work and school. On time.

Okay, maybe there's some scientific reason for Marylanders being afraid of the snow. Maybe it gets icier faster and the roads are just slick and dangerous (humidity? Proximity to Ocean?). Maybe there are so many people here that don't know how to handle it that THEY are the danger and not the snow. (In which case, shouldn't they just take a driver's ed class from someone who knows how to drive in the snow: slow down, pump your brakes if you have to stop quickly, don't try to jerk your steering wheel out of a slide and just wait for your car to get traction again, call your insurance company if you get in an accident). Maybe there isn't a scientific reason. Maybe it's all just a bunch of hype. Guess what. People get in accidents without any help from the snow.

Here's another shocker. People will actually abandon their cars in the middle of a storm and walk. Because that's so much safer. If someone hits you in your car, at least you've got air bags and big hunks of steel around you. If someone hits you as a pedestrian, you could be dead. Instantly. Really, it's crazy, illogical, and just plain dumb.

Here's what happens if you allow fear mongering when it comes to snow: your children fear the snow. And your children's children. And your children's children's children. I recently commented to my oldest daughter how grateful I was that both my parents were good examples of confident drivers. If you don't have confidence at the wheel, you are a danger. True story. I'm not talking about speed or cutting people off, or thinking you're a better driver than everyone else. I'm talking about confidence in your ability to know and follow the rules, take the initiative, navigate the roads as you carefully take notice of those around you. In my opinion, all of this hype causes unnecessary panic which could lead to a lack of resources when there is a true weather emergency.

Personally, I'm not afraid to drive in the snow. And I want to teach my children to not be afraid to drive in the snow. I've done 360's on the roads before (intentionally and unintentionally) and I lived. Was it scary? Yeah, a little, at least the unintentional ones. I've driven through Wyoming in a blizzard as semi-trucks passed by me, further blinding me with their output of swirling storm. Was it scary? Yeah. Was I grateful I had a passenger who helped me know when I was going off the road? Yeah. Did I live? Yep. Did I vow never to drive in the snow again and hide in my house every time the sky threatened a winter storm? Nope. Because that would just be irrational, and I'm really trying not to go there anymore.

Now if you'll excuse me I'm going to go knock on some wood so I don't get in an accident today. (Because I can't be expected to give up all my irrational behaviors.)