When the cold fluffy white stuff falls from the sky, many Washingtonians act like the sky is falling. Those who aren’t left quaking in their boots during the snowpocalypse act like the white powder on the ground is cocaine and they’re a junkie on a binge. Either way, Washingtonian’s aren’t good snow people.
The Washingtonians who equate snow to the sky falling, the world ending or something equally depressing (I’ll refer to these people as the Chicken Littles) do their best to blow things out of proportion. These are the people that venture outside only after they garb themselves in 20 layers of clothing and grab their home-made version of the Bear Grylls survival kit (sans urine) just so they can walk to their mailbox.
The snow junkies are the ones that can’t get enough of the sky dandruff. They’re the ones that you see doing donuts in empty parking lots and other snow related stunts that either land them on TV or in the hospital. The junkies are also the ones that stop everything to go play in the snow. Go to work? Not when the ground is covered in white fluffy stuff!
When the Chicken Little’s and the Junkies meet on icy roads, driving becomes a snowy hell for everyone involved. The Chicken Littles drive too slowly and cause even more traffic congestion. The junkies are the ones you see testing how fast they can go on the roads without sliding. Sometimes they’re successful, other times they end up spun out on the side of the road. No matter where they fall on the Chicken Little/Junkie scale, Washingtonians just aren’t prepared for driving in the snow.
Snow doesn’t just freeze ungloved hands while making snowballs; it also freezes our society. An inch or two of powder on the ground and schools and businesses shut down, whether because people are too scared to drive or off doing a non-work related snow activity.
Even the trees here aren’t prepared for the icy weather, and neither are the many of us who live in homes so close to tender Washington trees. A coating of snow and ice breaks limbs off of trees which fall on or near our places of abode and create a devastation that looks similar to that of a hurricane. But good luck calling anyone to get the damages fixed until the snow is gone and people have gone back to work.
It’s an undeniable fact that we’re just not good at dealing with snowy weather.
The recent attack of snow storms and power outages across Washington state has brought the fortitude of many Washingtonians into question. However, we sit at the crest of the Pacific Northwest fearlessly prepared to brave the weather conditions in any circumstance.
Typically this comes in the form of rain. But rain is nothing to us Washingtonians; it simply lands on our heads and rolls off our backs. The real threat begins with snow, ice and falling trees. This threat is very real and recent. The icy air lowered temperatures to below freezing, and power outages removed the possibility of keeping comfortable with our heaters amidst torrents of snow.
So what did Washingtonians do? We adapted. The snow melted and we survived. We dusted off old wood stoves and took upon ourselves the resolve of the rugged, strong Northwestern pioneer. We chopped our fallen trees for firewood. We stored food with make shift ice boxes made of compact snow.
We tried to drive.
However, it’s the effort and the determination of the person that is admirable. Even though some may have spun out into ditches, we ventured fearlessly while we did it and we were made better by the experience. Some of us chose to hibernate peacefully through the snowy week, and all the others were left to hesitantly accept. This may appear to be the behavior of lazy or overly cautious people, but what Washingtonians are really saying is that strength and wisdom go hand in hand.
Most importantly Washingtonians found that if our electronics and busy lives were taken by storm, we found a sense of community. We had to rely on each other, and in doing so, were united by a common challenge.
It’s said that prosperity weakens community, we witnessed just the opposite. We saw people open up their homes to the needy and share sparse heat, light and abundant laughter with them. We offered to pull over on the side of the road to assist a complete stranger. It’s acts like these that make Washingtonians strong.
We’re strong in our identity and will pick up right where we left off our lives the moment we decide it’s reasonable. Washingtonians have survived the worst of this winter and plan to stay for the next, however if a Washingtonian ever decides they would like to take a break from the harsh climate, they can head down to the tamer city of Los Angeles.
The Puyallup Post is the award-winning student news of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2017. Twitter/Instagram @puyalluppost