It Was The Dumbest of Times

I had to do a double-take when I read the headline: “Snow wimps: Seattle is shut down by first real snow of the season.”

OK, maybe they’ve got something there.  After all, it’s fair to self-evaluate one’s self for the sake of improvement.  Snow does cause people to do funny things.  A few years ago, a well-meaning nutjob Seattle mayor decided not to put salt on the roads because he said  it could go into our drain system and find its way into the Puget Sound.  A body of salt water, I might add.

But this headline was yanked right out of the Los Angeles Times!  The place where it never snows was criticizing how we reacted to the largest snowstorm we’ve seen here in 30 years. Yep, someone sitting around in their bathrobe in a town where 60-degrees triggers a frost warning was calling us a town full of “snow wimps”.

Maybe Anchorage has the right to do that.  Or a Siberian writer.  But what’s with Los Angeles judging us on how we deal with snow.  Now, I spent the first 18 years of my life growing up in Torrance and outside of a couple of hard frosts, we never had anything close to snow.  I remember as a young kid, we would drive up to Santa’s Village near Big Bear Lake to see some real snow.  For a time in the 60s, we had that classic Mr. & Mrs. Snowman scene in the family front yard at Christmas, complete with white fiberglass snow. After a couple of years, it became dirty and looked more like an aquarium filter than it did snow.

Now, a writer entrenched in the warm ocean-side region of  Southern California has deemed us wimps.  Because we get into accidents?  Wimps don’t get into accidents, they stay at home.  And, while you may call them wimps, it could be out of wisdom that they stay at home.  The accident statistics you stated were examples of those who didn’t know better or thought they were better at snow driving than they really were.  But they weren’t wimps.

I’ve done my fair share of proving myself over the years.  My guess is the only chains this writer has ever installed were 14-karat and went around his neck.  I’ve driven with and without chains, gone through years of changing tires over to put on the studded ones.  Even though I grew up in California, I’ve easily been through a couple of dozen snow episodes up here.  Being on the radio a bunch of years, I HAD to get in…wimping out simply was not an option.  I don’t see how going out into the snow, having an inexperienced driver plow into me and spending the next several weeks working with a body shop to repair my car makes me less wimpy.

I can’t decide if it’s arrogance or ignorance or a combination of both (ignoarrogance) that inspired this writer to pick on Seattle.  One fact that may have eluded him/her is that our weather forecasts are about as accurate as our country’s economic forecasts.  The local weather folks have a sketchy record at best and even with all the latest technology, they still didn’t nail this one.  As I write this piece, it’s snowing.  Something that wasn’t supposed to be happening today. We went from “maybe some snow” to “up to 14 inches” to “well, maybe 6-inches” to a Winter Storm warning and back to snow.  Today was supposed to be Thawsday, the day we returned to a steady Seattle diet of rain, with occasional showers and drizzle thrown in for variety.  Just turned around again. It’s still snowing.

I’ve heard people from the midwest start to criticize Seattle drivers and how we handle the snow. But after reminding them that they live on a mostly level playing surface and we have hills, mountains and other sharp inclines, they’ll say, “Oh, yeah.”  We’ve got speedbumps that have a higher elevation than Beverly Hills.

Wimps.  Someone in LA criticizing how we deal with our snow is like someone in Seattle criticizing how you run your pro football team.  Oh, wait….

So thank you for the wonderful observations from the land of Kardashians, drive-by shootings and where kites can actually get stuck in the sky on the really bad smog days.  Since we’re helping each other out, why don’t you tan less, stop outsourcing solutions to your problems, use a lower dosage of Botox and stick to offering sage advice to people closer to home.  From what we hear in the news on a daily basis, there are a lot of people who need your help.  For instance, do what you can to stop the animated Napoleon Dynamite show from airing another episode.

We appreciate your thoughts and find it comforting that you’d take the time to point out our inadequacies.  After all, Los Angeles driving is the envy of the nation, if not the free world.

Also, thanks for the reminder of why I got out of there almost 40 years ago.

Tim Hunter

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