I realize that many people, including some who read this blog, are actually in places that have received a great deal of snow this year. I, however, live in Houston, where the only "ice" we usually see is either at the ice skating rink at the Galleria or the cubes that gently clink in our glasses as we complain languorously about the heat. I once went to a Christmas Carnival which boasted "real snow." Watching children play in artificially created snow that melted almost as soon as it touched the sidewalk (it was in the 80's that weekend in December) was an indescribable delight.
Some years, however, the ice and snow does come our way naturally. When that happens, we shut down. Completely. Roads close. Schools close. Events are canceled. While our friends to the north may tease us about our wimpiness, the truth is we are very ill-equipped to deal with ice and snow on the roads. We have no salt trucks, no plows, no equipment to make things safe. That's okay, though, because in a day or two everything will melt and we'll be back to normal. When I was growing up, if it started to snow they would send us home. If it was still snowing the next day we might get to stay home, but we would have to wake up early and watch the news to see if we got a coveted "snow day."
Those days are gone. They left with Hurricane Katrina in 2005. I know that seems like a bizarre non sequitur, but that's my theory: the devastation and death toll caused by the lack of evacuation and preparedness in New Orleans changed the way we here in Houston view weather. It started with Hurricane Rita (which didn't hit Houston, and many of the people who were hit couldn't get out of town because the entire East Texas roadway system was clogged with people fleeing Houston) and continues to today. The forecast says it's going to snow? There will be ice? We're going to cancel everything now, just to be safe. Everybody go home! Enjoy your one-to-three inches of snow!
We have not gotten even a flake. Yes, there was ice on the car yesterday, and some patches on the roads, but Snowpocalypse 2011 was a massive dud. Fortunately we have a built-in "bad weather day" in our calendar so we will not have to stay extra days in June or go in on a Saturday, but I still wonder at the foolishness of it all. Twenty-five years ago, this wouldn't have happened because they would have waited to make the call on Friday morning. And I would have been up at a local high school right now playing for young instrumentalists struggling through their solos instead of lying in bed with my husband, enjoying the bright sunshine, and being completely lazy.
Perhaps change is good.
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