Snow tests everyone’s patience

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Commentary: a bit of personal warmth may make winter easier to cope with

By Mike McGann, Editor, UnionvilleTimes.com

Sledders enjoy the snow at Pocopson Elementary School, Friday.

It was an interesting progression. The first time the phone rang, showing the UCFSD on the Caller ID, it was met with little more than a shrug.

By the fifth time in two weeks the shrugs morphed into “oh @#$%.” while two ecstatic nine-years olds were dancing in celebration. And sure, immediately after, you have a moment of pause, “am I a bad parent?”

But the slow head shakes as you talk with other parents, whether at the Landhope, a Unionville Rec game or in the pain relievers aisle at the SuperFresh, make it clear: most folks around here, and certainly virtually all parents of school-age kids, are sick of this snow stuff.

And it’s not even February, yet. Yes, you remember February, that month in 2010 where we got hit with something between 40 inches and 18 feet of snow. Okay, it only seemed like the latter if you were among those with little more than a shovel to clear it, and found yourself trapped and buried in a house with no power. But you get the point.

The worst may yet to come, starting as soon as Tuesday night.

Already, we’ve seen more than twice the normal yearly snow fall in this area, with a good six weeks left in the likely snowfall season. Blame the Northeast Oscillation, La Nina, Global Warming, karma, Al Roker, or whatever, but we’ve seen more than 100 inches of snow in the last winter and a half. And to be clear: I support global warming, as I hate snow and really want a beach house in Greenville, Del., so I’m personally blaming Roker — what sort of trustworthy person can always be that upbeat so early in the morning?

And yeah, those of us with kids — either juggling them while trying to work, or like some of us, forced to drag them along — are frustrated. But imagine those poor souls who have been putting in all-nighters, trying to keep the roadways clear and safe. While these guys know an overnight shift here and there goes with the territory, there’s been one storm after another, all seeming to hit during the overnight hours. Some of these guys had stretches where they had to work 48, 50 or more hours in a 72-hour period.

That makes for some miserable and tired public works employees. Prepare, though, to share the pain. With limits on budgets, all of the extra money being spent this year has to come from somewhere — and it’s a safe bet that lots of snow mean less road repaving later this year — whether in your township, or from our pals at PennDOT. So, in a real way, this winter’s snow could be the root cause of that flat tire and bent rim in July when you hit a pot hole on U.S. 1.

So everyone is frustrated. You’ve probably noticed an increase of hand gestures involving one finger while driving in the last little while, snow banks, poor weather and frustration seems to bring the worst out in people. Although that can be entertaining at times: my wife has spent the better part of this week talking about the guy Wednesday in a Nissan Sentra who tailgated her, flashed lights and blew his horn her for driving 25 MPH on US 1 during the height of the snow storm. As soon as possible, she gave way and the guy, described as a middle-aged business type, zoomed off. Not a mile further up the road, there was the guy, having spun off the road, kicking his poor Sentra.

While you have to laugh, unless you’re that highly impatient guy, but almost all of us have had that feeling of wanting to kick something (or someone).

So, pause for a moment, and try to remember that we’re in the same boat here. Try to find a little more patience for everyone from other motorists to your kids and we might get through this in one piece.

Failing that, highly disreputable scientists (mostly my nine-year-old son) claim that Girl Scout cookies can help you get through the winter doldrums. Lucky for all of us, they just happen to be for sale virtually everywhere — ask your local scout or local troop (my family room is scary full of Thin Mints and the like) and buy a box or six.

With winter seemingly headed back to center stage stage this week, let’s try to remember that we’re all stuck in this snowbank together — and a little kindness might the only warmth we feel until April. Or May.

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