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How To Survive a “Snowstorm” in Chicago

When did we Chicagoans turn into a bunch of pansies when it comes to snow?  It’s a disturbing trend that seems to worsen each year.  Every single time it snows, the media plays it up so much that one would think the fucking end of the world was imminent.  Up until a few years ago, the news broadcast would be something like, “Oh, and we’re probably going to get some snow tomorrow, so plan accordingly!”  Now, each time the radar has a speck of white on it, they’re all, “OH MY GOD IT’S THE END OF THE WORLD SHUT THE STATE DOWN AND BEGIN STOCKING CANNED GOODS!!  EMERGENCY!!!!”  And like freaking sheep, we buy into it, nodding our heads, bemoaning the disaster to befall us the next day.

When did we forget that 90% of the time, the weather broadcasters are wrong?  And barring that, when did we forget that we live in Chicago??  It’s the Midwest, everyone!  We’re hearty people!  Five inches of snow?  Pssht.  Shovel it out, throw a lawn chair in your parking spot, and head on into work.  Unless there’s over a foot, the only thing that needs to be said is, “Eh, really coming down out there, huh?”  This is why we keep shovels in our cars (well, obviously I don’t, but that’s because I’m woefully unprepared for pretty much any situation.  Sometimes I forget to wear a coat,) bags of salt in our doorways, and have boots.  Because we live in Chicago.  And it fucking snows here.  Occasionally, it snows a whole fucking lot.  And we know this.  Because it’s CHICAGO and that’s what happens in the winter.

That being said, here’s a couple things to help you keep in mind for the next “Snowpocalypse,” which will probably happen sometime around the second week in April.

Whilst Waiting for the Bus – Use Caution.

I was actually pretty happy it was snowing this morning.  It was that big, pretty snow that just made the city look beautiful.  And while it was coming down pretty hard by the time I left for work, it was relatively warm and I happily made my way to the bus stop, listening to Pandora and just generally enjoying my lovely, snow-covered city.

When I got to the corner where my stop is, I was the only one there and saw a bus coming from only about a block away.  I learned quickly in my CTA adventures that if you are the only one at a bus stop, it’s necessary to make yourself visible as otherwise your transportation will go zooming past you without a second glance, leaving you standing on the sidewalk like a dolt with your bus card in your hand, all, “But, whaaa?  Wait!  You didn’t stop!”  (This doesn’t make them come back for you, FYI.)  So I was standing right up under the sign, trying to make eye contact with the yet-unseen driver, when a complete douchetard in a stupid car came flying down Chicago, going way too fast for conditions, I might add, spraying the giant pile of accumulated slush over my head in a manuever that probably should have been on YouTube.  The first time this happened to me earlier this year, I laughed it off, saying I hope someone at least saw it so they had a good story.  This time?  Kind of wanted to throw baseball bats at his car.  Added bonus?  The aforementioned driver saw the whole thing and added insult to (wet) injury by remarking, “Pretty messy out here, huh?”

Pretty, Giant Snowflakes Can Cover Up Ugly, Giant Ice Patches.

If you live outside city limits, you probably don’t have to do a lot of walking in the snow.  While this certainly presents its own challenges – namely, driving in stop and go traffic because everyone forgets how to operate an automobile the second cumulus clouds develop – having to travel on foot in snowy weather is a whole other bag of pain in the ass.  Especially if one lives in a neighborhood where shoveling your sidewalk is not a priority.  Which my neighborhood apparently is.  Despite it being a relatively mild winter, what snow/ice that has accumulated has stayed right where it started and to put it bluntly, it’s slippery as all fuck outside.  Which, if you have a short memory like yours truly, can pose a problem.  As I stepped out, my enjoyment of the beautiful snow was quickly undercut as I stepped one foot into the alley and nearly snapped my leg in half trying to overcorrect after hitting a patch of ice the size of my dining room table.  Use caution, folks.  There’s evil underfoot in the form of solid ice posing as snow.

Don’t Log In to Facebook.  I Promise.  Just Don’t.

As I may have mentioned before, weather updates via Facebook make me kind of homicidal.  Pictures of your backyard, kids/dog in the snow, a fabulous snowman?  Bring it on.  Love it.  I get that.  Got stuck for four and a half hours in traffic?  Okay, I can understand that one.  Posting statuses freaking out from 5PM the night before the impending doomstorm that may or may not actually happen?  Stop it. Just stop it.  Yes, it probably will take forever to get to work tomorrow.  Yes, it probably will take forever to get HOME from work tomorrow.  Yes, it probably will snow.  Yes, it probably will be messy.  Yes, drivers probably will be fucking morons.  Yes, you probably will be one of them.  STOP. IT.

Side note?  I have to say this.  Teachers?  I do love you.  You have a nearly impossible job, which is thankless, underpaid, underappreciated, and extraordinarily stressful.  So please don’t misunderstand when I say if I see one more post about how you have a snow day BEFORE THERE IS ANY SNOW, I will kind of want to punch you.  Also?  To those few who didn’t get a snow day and took to social media whining and complaining about how you can’t believe your school is the one that didn’t give you a snow day and how dare they expect you to work – um, you’re pretty much part of the only profession that gets to not work due to weather.  Every single other person in the Chicagoland area has to figure out how to get to work tomorrow - you can do it too!  You’re a teacher!  I have full confidence that you can navigate your way to school just like the rest of us have to navigate ourselves to work.

In a nutshell – stand back from the street, watch your step, and quit your bitching.  Embrace the snow.  Enjoy it.  It’s a short few months before we’re all sticking to the seat of the car and sitting in front of box fans and complaining about our sunburns.  And guess what?  We’ll survive that too.  Promise.

Lake Shore Drive on 2-2-11.  This?  Was a snowstorm.

Lake Shore Drive on 2-2-11. This? Was a snowstorm.

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