I’ve been like a kid in the candy store with no money for the past few weeks, watching everywhere in the US* get snow. Places that shouldn’t get snow have gotten hit, and places that are supposed to get snow have been hammered. I was driving a few weeks ago, and I heard on MPR that cities in northern Minnesota were getting up to a foot of snow. I nearly cried in frustration because in the Twin Cities, we’ve had one measurable snowfall, and that seems like ages ago.
Fast-forward to yesterday. It was lightly snowing as I went to taiji, and people were mostly fine. Cautious and slow, which is exactly right as it’s snowing. It’s also bitterly cold. Right now it “feels like” -8, and it’s supposed to get down to a windchill of -55. I mean, I’m a cold person, but that’s too cold even for me. I’ve found that the older I get, the less I’m able to handle extreme cold. I have a little test every winter to see how long it takes me to roll up the car windows in the winter. In the past, I had them down, even when it was well below zero. Now, I’m finding that I have to put gloves on around ‘feels like’ -5, and I’ll probably roll them up if I go anywhere in the next few days. -30 was beyond me even during the old days, though, especially with a windchill of -55.
Back to driving to taiji. There was a sudden slowdown, and because I was well behind the car in front of me, I was able to slow my car down with no problem (in the right lane). However, an SUV in the left lane (two lanes over) was apparently texting or talking on their phone whilst driving because the SUV suddenly spun out and started careening wildly all over its lane before spinning into the lane next to it. It dinged another SUV/van-like vehicle as the driver struggled for control. The spinning SUV pulled over to the left shoulder while the dinged vehicle pulled over to the right shoulder. I felt really bad for the second driver because through no fault of their own, they had to deal with the fallout of being hit for an hour or so in the bitter cold.
Side rant: This is purely anecdotal, but it seems like the bigger/fancier the car, the more reckless the driver. What I mean is that whenever I come across cars that are spun-out or in a ditch, they tend to be SUVs and such. My theory is that they think they’re invincible given all the bells and whistles they have. It gives them an over-inflated sense of invulnerability and a skewed sense of safety. In addition, everyone is so distracted when they drive these days. It’s a recipe for disaster.
I actually found it more upsetting to watch that minor accident (and the first driver was exceedingly lucky they didn’t hit more people) than it was to be in a minor accident (mine was less minor than the one I witnessed yesterday). I think it’s because when I was in the accident, I had to deal with it happening, whereas witnessing it, I don’t have anything to focus on, so my brain is free to worry, stew, and speculate. When I was in the accident, I was focused on giving my report, calling all the people, and comforting the young woman who hit me.
In addition, I’m sure some of it is PTSD from my own accident. I’m mostly comfortable driving again, but any time I see a car come too close to me, I flinch. Fortunately, this accident was far enough away from me that I was in no danger, except if the car it hit spun out as well, but that didn’t happen. I could feel my heart beating rapidly for the next several miles, and I was on edge until I reached my taiji studio. It reminded me how you can be as careful as possible, and yet, you can still get hit. The second driver was doing everything right, and there was nothing they could do to avoid getting dinged by the first driver. It’s not a comfortable feeling, but it’s a good reminder.
We’re supposed to get 5-10 inches of snow today. If I don’t sound thrilled about it, it’s because we’ve done this song and dance before. Wunderground tells me we’re getting 5-8 inches, say a week from now. Then, when I check a few days later, it’s 3-5 inches. Then, a few days later, it’s less than an inch. Then, it’s nothing. Granted, we’re talking about today and 5-10 inches is still the prediction, but I don’t want to be vastly disappointed if it turns out to be an inch or less. We didn’t even get an inch yesterday, which, while expected, was a disappointment.
I’m on snow watch. It’s supposed to start around 4 p.m. and last throughout the early hours of the morning. This is like Christmas to me, and the hardest part is waiting. I’m glancing out the window every few minutes just to see if it’s snowing yet, and it’s not. If we don’t get at least five inches, I’ll be a sad camper.
I have a dilemma, however. I like to celebrate snow by going outside and dancing naked at midnight. It’s a way to enjoy the snow and the cold, both of which I like. If you’ve been reading along, I bet you can figure out the dilemma. There is no way in hell I’m going to dance outside naked at any time if it’s -30 degrees out. I like the cold, but that’s too much, even for me. I will say that -30 doesn’t feel that much colder than -10 because of the law of diminishing returns, but still. I highly doubt I’ll want to dance naked outside at that temp, even if it’s for less than a minute. I do not want to literally freeze off any part of my body, and that’s what I’d be in danger of doing.
I realized that part of my depression for the past few months is because of the lack of snow. I don’t usually get SAD in winter because I love snow and I love the cold. However, while we’ve had a bit of the cold (not as much as usual), we’d had nearly no snow, and that does make me sad (if not SAD). We’ve also had our fair share of gray days, and while I love cold and snow, I do not like gray. I like sun on a crisp day, except when I’m driving because it’s difficult with the sun glaring off the snow.
It’s noon-thirty, and I have three-and-a-half hours to go until snowtime. I cannot wait.
*A little hyperbole.