Since moving to the great state of Oregon I have received two things I just never had in Illinois. Land for a garden and snow days. Before I moved to Oregon, snow was not a big deal, hardly an event. You want snow, Illinois will give you snow. Snow like no body’s business. Illinoisans have an almost callous indifference to the white stuff. When I was young, we never had a snow day. Did I mention never? We could get several inches and school might start late, but school started. Idle minds lead to the devil or some such nonsense.
Not so in Oregon. Snow is an event in Oregon. Schools close at the possibility. The very forecasting of frozen precipitation sends people to the grocery store to stock up on supplies. The local news coverage is almost equal to an election year. We got four inches yesterday. KPTV deemed it ‘Arctic Blast 2008.’ A tag line they repeated with such frequency it evoked hysterical giggles from Matt and I.
To the uninitiated, snow experienced mid-westerner, this response is flabbergasting. My first year here, I looked aghast at my co-workers as they made plans to work from home at the slightest hint of snowfall. Tire chains are legal in this state.
Then it snowed. Great big fluffy flakes, to the approximate depth of 1 – 2 inches. Then I learned.
Here’s the thing. Northwestern Oregon is hilly. On average, winter temperatures are mild. Often above freezing, this means snow gradually melts and then turns into ice at night. Oregonians are a friendly people, but many of them drive/crash in snow maybe once a year. I have never seen a plow in this area, unless you count a dirt mover, which I don’t. They don’t use salt. Let me emphasize this last point. with the first point. Oregon is hilly and they don’t use salt…
I can accept everything but that last point. Why? Because the second point, the mild temperatures, the ice. This is dangerous. This is why things close down. Natives will tell you salt is not used because it damages the woodlands. Newsflash, that eurotrash weed, English ivy, ruins more roadside timber and greenery than a judicious application of road salt would. How about just the hills? Or how about this. How about we just all agree that snow is a reason to stay home. Yeah, you could go to work, but why? Go stare into the middle distance. Somewhat similar to computer problems when you can just shrug and say, “Look, I’m sorry, but the computer is down and there is nothing I can do.” People accept that. That’s what snow should be across the country. It snows and there is a collective shrug. The people we are shrugging at, they get it. They’ve been there. “What are going to do? It snowed,” they reply.
The end result is, I finally get to have all those snow days that those hardy folk in Illinois denied me as a child. Take that Illinois. I even get to make the call. Work from home? Yes, I think I will, thank you.
I now live in a state that is sane enough to let Mother Nature say, “Now hold on there little camper. You see that white stuff? That’s snow. You’d best stay home if you know what’s good for ya. Just a bucket of stupid out there. How ’bout some hot cocoa?”