Sunday, January 8, 2017


Today, it snowed.

Most winters in the dry part of Oregon, this would be news. "Ah, we got a snowfall this winter," people would say. "How nice that the children get to use their sleds this year."

This winter, however, snow is not news. "It did not snow today" is news. Because for the last two months I think I have gotten more experience driving on snow and ice than I have in my last six years of car ownership combined.

It started out fun. My friends and I decided to celebrate the snow by making use of someone's hot tub, sitting in the hot water and steam as snowflakes gently drifted onto our heads, punctuated by the occasional yelps of whoever was most recently dared to go make a snow angel in their swimsuit.

Soon, however, the snow became less fun. People got into car accidents. Important meetings and fun events were cancelled. Pipes burst. Stores ran out of things. Everyone's car got stuck and had to be pushed out at least once.

Mostly, my own car has been trusty and reliable through the snow, despite its lack of snow tires. But two days when the snow was at its highest, I had to rely on others' better vehicles and winter driving skills to make it to such crucial things as work and the premier of Rouge One.

Driving in the snow in Hermiston is at least better than driving in the snow in The Dalles. Whoever designed the roads in Hermiston understood that it's OK if you have more than six inches of clearance between your side mirrors and parked cars while driving. Also, Hermiston is relatively flat, which means that if you are sitting at a stop sign there is much less chance that your vehicle will suddenly start sliding backwards down the hill while you resignedly make "Sorry" faces at everyone whose car you slide into (this can be fairly amusing to watch but not so funny to experience).

So far I've only had to make the "Sorry if I hit you there's nothing I can do please be nice and don't sue me" face at one person, and he got out of my way.

I used to live in this kind of weather all the time, when I lived in Iowa as a kid. But I've discovered that if love of snow were documented in a line graph, for most people that line dips very suddenly at the point in their life labelled "Got job that requires driving to work every day."

Now, I don't know why any adult would choose to live somewhere like Alaska, where it snows constantly and the temperature dips below freezing every winter. There are so many things about winter that aren't as fun as summer. You have to wear so many clothes in the winter, for example. A sweater, jeans, leggings and multiple pairs of socks take up so much more space in the wash than a T-shirt and shorts, not to mention if you don't want to shrink your sweater it will take approximately 4.6 years to air dry. And speaking of winter clothing, nobody's crush has ever said "Wow she looks really attractive in those snow pants."

Of course there are benefits to winter, some will argue. Hot chocolate, warm fires, an excuse to cuddle up with someone under the blankets ... but first you have to find someone willing to cuddle with you after they've seen you in snow pants.

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