Snowy Cracks in the Façade of Civilization

This year has been especially cold and there has been more snow than usual. The snow in December filled and exceeded last year’s whole year averages. It looks like we are going to fill this year’s quota by the end of next week.

Northern Virginia does a good job of keeping the streets clear – too good, IMO.  The snow is supposed to start tomorrow morning, but the crews are out already “pre-treating” the roads with salt so that the initial snow falls will melt and there won’t be that crust when the plows go through.

Of course, Virginia has a kinder climate. The temperatures might drop below zero after a snowfall in Wisconsin or Minnesota.  This literally freezes in ice and snow. In Virginia you can be pretty sure that it will get fairly warm soon enough after even a heavy snowfall the warm sun will hit the road surface and melt off whatever the salt and plow missed.  

Nevertheless, the thought of snow fills Washingtonians with dread and makes them question their very survival.  I went to Safeway today for routine shopping. The place was packed and people were stocking up on necessities. One old guy scooped up a dozen packages of baloney.   Bread was gone.  As you can see in the picture, we managed temporarily to produce Soviet style conditions.

It is silly. In the worst case scenario the snow will tie us down for two days. Even then, the paralysis will not be complete. Who in our modern and prosperous society has a cupboard so bare that he cannot go for a day or two w/o shopping. You can actually go longer than that w/o eating at all and I have not seen many people these days who couldn’t live off their fat for longer than that. 

The lines at the checkouts were long. I got into a line that was for the self-checkouts. I didn’t want to use them because I had a fair amount but I also didn’t want to get into another line, so I did my own.  It was a problem.  I use my own shopping bags. I got them ten years ago and they are still like new. They are much easier to pack and they are eco-friendly. As I recall they are made from recycled plastic from old bags. But they make life hard at the self checkout. The self checkout wants you to use their bags and gives you a hard time if you don’t.  It also evidently weighs your purchases and when I put a new bag of my own on the scale, it thinks I am stealing something.  I felt sorry for the people behind me, but people were cheerful despite my ineptitude and the dread of snow. The clerk had to reset my counter a couple of times, but I got through.