Saturday, December 18, 2010

I always feel better...

The American South is notorious for freaking out over the tiniest bit of snowfall. I remember many a winter in Tennessee when, at the prospect of a possible inch (or less) of snow, hoards of panicked people descend on every grocery store and buy up every thing in sight. I even remember going into a store one time to buy a Coke after school had been dismissed early due to possible snow (none had fallen yet), and there was in the store, literally, that had completely empty shelves except for a ripped open bag of bread and a dented can without a label. I was not alive for the 1960's Cuban Missile Crisis, but I can't imagine that panic was anything near the like of Southerners facing being homebound for at least 2 days due to 1/2 inch of snow.


We're programmed to be terrified of snow, ice, or miscellaneous other "wintery mix." Now that I live in places where we have actual blizzards and feet, not inches, of snowfall, I have to laugh a bit. We, Southerners, are just like that. Every culture has things it freaks out over. Snow is what does it for Southerners. That's just the way it is in the South.


To be fair, Northern plains folk freak out over humidity in the summer the same way. I've never heard so much belly aching over 85 degrees and 40 to 50% percent humidity in my life. I have to chuckle over that just as much as chuckling over the way Southerners are petrified of snow.


I always feel better about the South's relationship to snow when I read something like this report from the BBC. The headline is "Heavy Snow and Ice bring Travel Chaos across UK." Keep in mind that this is actually one of the less sensationalist headlines from European news sources on the subject. The French and Dutch news outlets are carrying on like its the end of the world with the hooves of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse in every European doorstep.


What is hilarious if you read through that report from the BBC is this quote found deep in the article:


"A Gatwick Airport spokesman said: "Over 3cm of snow has now accumulated on the runway and it is now unsafe to operate aircraft."


3 centimeters of snow in Europe (that's 1.18 inches folks), apparently cause "absolute chaos. All luggage was lost - with no information about how or when it would be returned to us - and people were not given food, travel, or hotel vouchers..."


And I thought the South was bad. At least we own the fact that we're snow wimps. The way Europe is carrying on, those four horsemen have traded their horses for snow boots, though the Four Yeti of the Apocalypse just doesn't conjure up have the same dread for me. 


I just hope the Four Yeti don't need their luggage. 

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