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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA

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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

Snow Way In

Yesterday it snowed. And I don’t mean some sort of fluffy little flurries drifting aimlessly toward the earth. No fairy dusting here. This was real snow. Angry snow. It started early, swept down for a few hours, stopped just long enough to give you some false sense that the worst was over, then pounded home for a while longer overnight.

And, so far as I can tell, the local meteorological cabal was mum on its existence, right up until the stormclouds loomed snowily on our horizon. Now, that’s no big deal. These forecasters are human, mostly, so they’re going to make the occasional mistake. Or glaring powdery omission.

“A few extra marshmallows in the old hot cocoa, and I was right as rain again in no time.”

And it was a holiday, so frankly, I was in bed for most of it. Other than shoveling out the car in the afternoon, it didn’t affect me too much. A few extra marshmallows in the old hot cocoa, and I was right as rain again in no time. Still, it was sort of fun to watch the weather weenies try to weasel their way out of their earlier predictions, as the skies opened and poured forth a rebuttal:

“So like I said yesterday, everything looks clear and sunny out there-”

*pour pour pour snow snow snow*

“Uh… that is to say, we might see just a bit of a dusting-”

*pound pound pound freeze freeze freeze*

“Er, um, accumulations up to an inch in some areas-”

*blizzard blizzard blizzard drift drift drift*

“Well, two or three inches is possible, I suppose-”

*swirl swirl swirl howl howl howl*

“Would you believe four to six?”

*cats cats cats dogs dogs dogs*

“Damn. Six to eight?”

*blow blow blow mock mock mock*

“Oh, to hell with this. I never wanted to be a meteorologist, anyway. No, I wanted to be a lumberjack!…”

And so on and so forth, with the flannel shirts and the singing and the wearing of women’s underclothes.

(If you don’t get that reference for some reason, don’t worry. It’s approximately as disturbing as it must seem with what little information I’ve given you.

Also, you really need to get out more.)

Now, maybe I missed a savvy forecaster or two who had this thing pegged. Perhaps the French Toast Alert Level got raised to a toasty orange while I wasn’t looking.

(And many thanks to Shelley at Cynical: A Life for turning me on to an indicator that’s more fun to watch than the Dow Jones, the prime interest rate and the Bert ‘n’ Ernie terror level, all rolled into one.

It’s the right weather to watch. And a tasty way to watch it!)

But as far as I can tell, the local weather bugs were largely unawares, left dumbfounded with flabbers gasted and standing in a foot of freshly fallen powder. Which, as I mentioned, was highly entertaining.

Until today. When I returned to work. Which meant parking my car.

It was then that I realized how fully most people must depend on those weather slingers to tell them what’s happening over their heads. We’ve had snowstorms in the past — honest to god Nor’easters, dumping two feet or more of the white stuff up to our fannies in just a few hours. This latest episode was mild by comparison — six inches, or maybe eight, over the course of a full day. But the difference was, no one seemed to see it coming.

So while the streets were clear by worktime this morning — I guess the city snow crews have their own private forecasting tools, like a Magic 8-Ball, maybe — all of the parking spots in my usual area were full. Of snow. Some of them appeared to be hiding cars under their drifts, but it was difficult to tell. Was there a Buick under that lumpy mass of white? A pickup truck? James Gandolfini? Who the hell knows?

What I could say is that this amusing little storm had finally become a real nuisance. With enough lead time and “for heavens sakes, stock up on bread and water — the big one’s a-comin’!” warnings, Bostonians will dig themselves (and their vehicles) out lickety-split. Blizzards are no match for a bunch of burly Southies and their snowblower and shovel brigade. Give ’em a pile of snow and a couple of hours, and you’ll have yourself a clean sidewalk, two parking spots and a lovely patch of garden to look at.

Sure, the spots will have six lawn chairs and a sign reading, ‘Don’t even think about pahking heah, wiseass‘. But they’ll be dug out. And you can always pretend you can’t read. And didn’t see the lawn chairs. And act mildly retahded when you leave the car, so they’d feel bad beating you up. That’s Boston parking for you.

Not this time, though. This morning, I faced not the parade of patio furniture and the business end of a snow shovel for breaking parking protocol. Instead, it was just snow. Piled high and untouched. Pure as the driven… uh, itself, I guess. And there’s no arguing with snow. No bribing it to let you park there. No looking the other way while you chuck lawn chairs in the neighbor’s yard. It’s there, and it’s not going anywhere.

So I did what any savvy old pro would do in that situation. I turned the car around, drove back to my own barely-shoveled-out driveway, parked the car, called in sick and went back to bed. If you can’t park, you can’t work. It’s simple logic, my friends.

Tomorrow, I’ll see if it’s thawed, or whether people have finally dug out enough to allow for visitor parking. Or maybe I’ll wait until Thursday. Better yet, maybe I should give it the rest of the week. Those people have been through a lot with this surprise snow; I wouldn’t want to tax them unnecessarily. How about you just wake me when it’s Monday?

Unless it snows again. Then you can set the alarm for April. Thanks a bunch. G’night.

Permalink  |  2 Comments

2 Responses to “Snow Way In”

  1. shelley says:

    I heart the French Toast Alert Indicator. How have you lived this long without it?!

  2. Charlie says:

    Shelley, I have no idea. All this time I’ve been watching the weather monkeys yammer on about isobars and pressure systems, when really all I needed to know was whether the hell I need to beat the milk run at Stop ‘n’ Shop.

    You’ve converted me. The FTAI has made me a changed man!

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