WASHINGTON – I left my snow blower in Minnesota.
Ah, smug was I.
Then came the record storm that President Obama and so many others would dub “snowmageddon.”
The snowpocalypse. Snowlocaust. Snowdzilla. Whatever.
What’s really chewing at me is I’m writing this from my “home office” (IRS, take note, it’s for “the convenience of my employer”).
On my desk is a hot mug of coffee that commemorates the “Great Halloween Snowstorm, 28.4 inches, Oct. 31-Nov. 2, 1991.”
The Star Tribune headline was “It fell and fell and fell…”
(Compare to one online head I spotted in the Washington Post this weekend: “Please, just make it stop”).
I don’t remember how I made it to work in the ‘91 storm, but I got the company logo-imprinted mug as a token of my bosses’ appreciation.
(Sorry about today, boss).
Snowfall figures in the D.C. area this weekend range from the mid-20-inches to the mid-30s. Basically, on a par with the Great Halloween Snowstorm, the biggest I remember from my two decades in Minnesota.
But this is different. For three reasons:
First, many of us here in Washington are creatures of mass transit. We’re basically in Day 3 of Snowmageddon, and the Metro system is basically shut down, except for downtown trains that don’t poke their noses above ground. (Note: Day 2 was Super Bowl Sunday, so maybe Metro rail workers didn’t count it).
Second, the Washington area, once slammed by John F. Kennedy for its “southern efficiency and northern hospitality,” is basically clueless about snow.
(Point 2, subparagraph 1: The nation’s capital is a veritable Tower of Babel of driving styles, with a lot of folks at the wheel who, let’s just say, don’t know a lot about winter driving technique in the First World; Point 2, subparagraph 2: There’s no Minnesota Nice ethic here that gives any reassurance that once you dig your car out on the street you’ll ever get to park there again).
Third, the white stuff that falls here could more aptly be described as cement. It’s heavy, thick, and hardens on the top after a few hours in the sun. It sticks to your shovel, and nearly guarantees a sprained lower back.
So, snowed in with the cats, if not Tweety Bird too, I labor today from home, where I’ve been for the past three days.
At least I’ve got electricity, which is more than some 200,000 other Washingtonians can say. But my cable line is dangling precariously from a telephone pole, the victim of my neighbor’s fallen tree, the victim of… see Point Three, above.
Meanwhile, my wife Judy, traveling on business in St. Paul, is merrily bounding to and fro through the “Manitoba Mauler.”
I’ll leave the lights on Hon if you manage to make it home from the airport.
One pretty embarrassed Minnesotan in Washington, D.C..
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