Now that The South has thawed out and enjoyed an entire week of sixty-degree weather, I thought it would be a perfect time to blog about the “Polar Vortex” that swept through the United States recently. That’ll probably be the last time I use that term. The rest of us just call it what it is: winter.
If you watched or listened to any of the weather predictions, news reports or subsequent updates (especially from the first front), then you know all about the drama that befell metro Atlantans from all over.
My primary personal observation was: a lot of upset residents cursing local community leaders about their shortcomings and abject failures to plan for or execute any sort action to deal with the effects of the bad winter weather. I had the unique position of both not having to deal with any of it and hear all about it from various sources.
Before I get started on this rant, I should warn you that I’ll be attacking a few stereotypes, making sweeping generalizations and outright ignoring most exceptions to the rule. You’ve been warned, let’s get started!
I believe that if most of the folks consumed with bitching about this-or-that had exercised some not-so-critical thinking skills they could have saved themselves a bit of trouble and the rest of us from hearing about it. (But then what would I have blogged about?) Certainly severe winter weather doesn’t happen often but it still happens. In fact, we received just as much ice (not as much snow) what, two-three years ago? A fifty pound bag of rock salt, snow shovel and a couple of sleds have been gathering dust at my house ever since. The sleds didn’t make an appearance this year, but the salt and shovel gave me a small piece of mind and a lot of exercise.
Do you REALLY need someone to tell you the weather is bad and you should stay home? Or even better, that perhaps you should leave and go home NOW? Certainly the blame goes all the way around for this one — for both employees and employers. Maybe this is just my ego talking, but when the white stuff starts sticking to the black stuff, I believe I’d already have clocked out and been on my way, assuming it’s not too late. And it usually is. Luckily, I have the ability to work from just about anywhere the Internets is available so I stayed home and laughed at everyone else (not really).
Wondering if the roads have been cleared so you can return to work on day two: It’s been many, many, many years since I lived paycheck-to-paycheck and even longer since I was paid by the hour. But I’m not completely heartless nor have I forgotten what it’s like. If you don’t work, you don’t get paid. I get it; It sucks but that’s where you’re at. But let’s think about this a moment: If you’re already behind on bills and you total your car OR suffer bodily harm, you don’t get paid either. You’re welcome to take your chances out there on the roads — but I’ll be betting on velocity and (the lack of) friction.
This one might get your feather’s ruffled: children stuck at school. Or worse yet, stuck in a school bus on the side of the road. As a kid that rode the school bus from the first week of kindergarten to the last week of high school — I don’t have a bone to pick with bus drivers attempting to deliver children to their parents. But I do have a bone to pick with parents who haven’t given the first thought as to why, when or how they would retrieve their children from school for any circumstance outside the school’s ability to properly care for their children. I nearly shook my head off my shoulders as I read an ongoing conversation about heated parents and their outrage at schools keeping children overnight instead of risking their safety to deliver them home. While that was going on, I know a parent that walked the two miles to their children’s schools and walked them home. THAT is parenting. (Of course I am fully qualified to make such statements as the parent of a nine-month-old.)
Here is a personal favorite: milk and bread. Is everyone on the verge of being out of milk and bread at any given moment or is this the daily manna everyone subsists on during inclement weather? Further more, could we please not obsessively purchase perishable items that won’t last when the power fails? Heaven help us if there is someone without the sense to put the cold stuff in the snow if the refrigerator fails to work.
Finally, may The Lord rescue me from my shame should my ignorant teenage child “think it was a good idea at the time” to take their car out to see the carnage whilst wearing nothing more than their pajamas without any other suitable articles of winter clothing and promptly drop said car right in the ditch. (Really happened.) Enough said.
I’d love to hear your rant or rebuttal. Drop it in the comments below!