It’s Winter… Deal With It!
I think that living in Central New York during the winter is very challenging and it can bring out both the best and worst in people. It’s cold, windy, snowy, dark and just plain long. We get everything from sleet to freezing rain to Nor’easters and of course the dreaded lake effect snow. I’m always impressed at how well or how poorly we Central New Yorkers’ handle this season.
One of the things I enjoy most is how the news handles our winter weather. I understand that the news, much like everything else on TV, depends upon ratings to keep them going. That being said, I am always amused when the local news dispatches their “storm team” to cover the impending doom of what is generally a common occurrence in this area, THE SNOW STORM! Granted, we all handle these storms differently, but when you live in an area where the average length of winter is five months, a storm doesn’t generally warrant a panicked response from the media, but it makes for good ratings. These storms aren’t major disasters, for the most part, in this area. A Central New Yorker panicking over a snowstorm is tantamount to a stripper freaking out over a stranger putting a dollar in her G-String. When it snows, you just stay inside until it’s over. As a matter of fact, I know some people who stay inside from November to April. You might have to shovel, snow blow or plow, but each of these things can be done in a timely manner, without having to panic. In 2007, the town in which I live received eleven feet of snow in five days, but we were all prepared. All you need is food, water and equal amounts of wool socks and liquor.
The reactions that different people have to winter, around here always interest me. We have the people that just take it in stride or the Nonchalanters (I am in this group). We wake up everyday expecting snow. We don’t hate it, we don’t love it, we just go about our business. Our motto: “Yep, it’s snowing. Let’s go get a drink.” Then we have the haters of winter. These folks live in this area, know what they’re going to have to deal with on a daily basis and still get angry when the inevitable happens (it’s what I imagine marriage is like). Their motto: “I hate living here, until the summer, then I love living here, until winter arrives again and then I hate living here!” Next is the arch enemy of the winter hater, the winter enthusiast. We all know them. They get excited for the first snowfall, they plan all sorts of outdoor activities and are often looking forward to winter by mid August. Their motto: “Bring on the fun that can only be provided by frostbite, bone chilling winds and blinding snow!” Whichever category you fall into, the two things we all agree on is that the first snowfall is pretty and it’s the perfect excuse to gain some weight, so we can “keep warm”.
In my opinion, the hardest thing to deal with during this season is the lack of sun and abundance of bitter cold temperatures. There are points when we see only clouds for weeks at a time and just going outside freezes your face into a permanent grimace which displays the perfect combination of pain and anger. Some people get depressed and there is even a clinical condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD. Now, you can’t tell me that whomever named that, wasn’t laughing or at least snickering a little at that Acronym. We all have our own ways of handling the long nights and short days combined with constant overcast skies and frigid temperatures. They make sun lamps, they have prescription medication, if you suffer from SAD (I laughed a little), they make plenty of warm clothing or you can just do what I do… Drink! In my defense, that’s the way I handle anger and happiness, as well as sadness. Whether you have SAD or the much more common LAD (Lazy Ass Disorder), the one thing you must do is clean off your damn car! Windows, front, side and back, as well as lights all work better when you can actually use them to see. For the love of all that is holy, brush off the roof of your vehicle, unless you enjoy causing a mini blizzard to whomever is unlucky enough to be behind your LAD self. Look on the bright side, just think of the money you save on sunglasses, compared to those suckers in Florida and California.
Whether you hate it, tolerate it or embrace it, winter is an inevitability in Central New York. Even a good winter isn’t actually that good, it’s just less bad than the others. If you’re going to live here, eventually you’ll get use to it and maybe even grow to love it. If not, remember that mittens were invented so you can give the finger without anyone even realizing you’re doing it.
About: Ted Snyder
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