This winter has put me in a pretty foul mood. I’m not angry that it’s snowing in North Carolina, I’m not pissed that I now have to schedule makeup school days for my students because of snow days. I’m not even mad that every morning I have to run to my car in a slinky bathrobe in 20 degree weather to start my car so the ice on my windshield will thaw before I have to leave for work.
No, the actual winter weather is not putting me in a foul mood– it’s people reacting to the winter weather that is making me want to crawl into a foxhole and hibernate until the ice has melted and the flowers are blooming.
Since November, it’s like the entire East Coast has engaged in a giant pissing contest, and I feel like I’m drowning in it R Kelly style. That’s right, I’m drowning in your metaphorical urine, you grotesque people.
Really, I’m just tired of hearing how “southerners don’t know how to drive in snow” and “you think it’s cold there?? You should live where I live, THEN you’d see real cold weather!”
Yeah, we get it. Northern states are generally cold and southern states are generally warm. Northerners are better equipped to deal with winter weather, and southern states all but shut down when we get 1/2 an inch of snow. Boys have penises and girls have vaginas. We get it. All good facts, all good things to point out over and over again to everyone you know, every single year.
But, can we just stop? Because at the end of the day you just look like an ass when you’re berating other people because of their region’s weather, their driving abilities, and their personal views on what is hot vs what is cold.
I thought about this today as my car was spinning out on an icy hill and I slid backwards into oncoming traffic on a normally very busy road, where cars travel around 60 miles per hour. I was absolutely terrified, and had cars been coming at that moment, there is a good chance I would have been hit and seriously injured, or killed. I sat with my rear bumper in the middle of the road and thanked God that there was a county-wide snow day today, because it meant there was about 90% less traffic on the road. I put my car in reverse and began driving in the correct direction just in time to escape the quickly approaching cars, my hands trembling from the close call.
Now, I grew up in Northern Virginia, right outside Washington, D.C. I know how to drive in both snow and ice, and spent many years doing so. In Drivers ED, where many kids circle around parking lots and learn to drive in small, uncrowded cities, I was taking spins on the beltway in Washington, D.C. during rush hour, and learning how to merge across multiple lanes of traffic in the “mixing bowl” of Northern Virginia.
I am by no means a wonderful driver (as I’m sure my husband would attest to), but I do know how to drive safely in hazardous conditions. That being said, black ice and unpaved roads don’t care how experienced you are at driving in winter weather. While many of my friends have been making comments about “crappy southern drivers” and “stupid people who can’t drive in snow”, I am sitting here wondering, what if I HAD gotten hit by a car today, would they have reminded me that I should have been a better southern driver in the snow, not so stupid and reckless? Probably not. When I lived in Virginia, I remember seeing herds of salt trucks and snow plows materializing across the state as winter weather approached. No road was left unsalted, most streets plowed as soon as the first inch of snow accumulated. Would you believe that in my 7 combined years of living in North Carolina, I have never seen a salt truck or snow plow? Maybe instead of poking fun at entire regions of people, making fun of the unprepared and ill-equipped Department of Transportation would be more accurate. But wait, that’s no fun, is it?
I guess it all comes back to social media, as so many issues do nowadays. People climb up onto their high horses and safely sit behind their laptops while poking fun at others. In 150 characters or less, you can generalize an entire group of people (or region) and discount their feelings, individual experiences, and perspectives. It’s probably a stretch to call it “cyber bullying”, but regardless, the intentions are never good. They can’t be! Even if not meant to be mean spirited, they are absolutely pointless and unoriginal, at best.
I am not denying that people are idiots on the road– in fact a lady was tailgating me so badly yesterday that I had to pull over and she nearly clipped my bumper as she sped by, all this in the middle of a snowstorm on icy roads. Who knows, maybe she had to rush home to post on Facebook about how stupid and slow southern drivers are in bad weather?
I simply wish people would be a little more compassionate, and a little less judgmental. A little more empathetic, and a little less snarky. And quite possibly more important than all of the above, I wish people would at least be a little more original with their blanket statement, generalized Facebook bashing.