Five Acts of Winter Survival
Act I The talk
It’s time for that talk; not the post-pubescent, pre-teen one
everybody dreads and few perform. This is not the talk about “bird
and bees,” it’s the talk about surviving winter in Minnesota.
Act II Preparation
A failure to prepare is preparation for failure. I spend a good
portion of my day checking on the weather. I check forecasts on the
radio, television, internet and newspaper. The down side of this is
that people constantly ask me about the weather, it is like being an
informational cuckoo clock. Part of preparation for me is that I check the road
conditions when I start any trip by accelerating to about 20-25 miles
per hour then apply my brakes softly at first and progressively
harder until I either lose contact with the road or come to a stop.
Neither my wife nor I drive much faster than 45 miles per hour on icy
roads and we are constantly passed by folks either talking on their
cell phones or who perhaps originate from an enclave of zombies (i.e.
zombies are mindless.)
Act III Are you experienced?
The Jimmie Hendrix classic “Are you experienced?” has always been a
mystery to me; even after I read the lyrics. However, I could answer
the question, “is it safe to drive?” with this simple, three-word
lyric. Road safety is based more on driver experience than weather
conditions-I regularly drive on county road #7 and to the
inexperienced driver it would be a task akin to sailing a rowboat
through volcanic lava. There are times, however, when road and
weather conditions combine to create a situation where no one should
venture further than their own front door. You have to evaluate your
own skills and compare them to the road condition, that’s how you know if it is safe
Act IV Weather Forecasts
Television weather forecasts have become an overly dramatic, dire,
romance novel, end of the world opus constructed through the
creativity of whatever meteorologist you happen to watch. I have
happened into the middle of one of these little intense soliloquies
and believed them to be announcing a terrorist attack only to find they
are simply forecasting freezing rain. I hate it when television
weathercasters refer to snow as “shovel trouble.” I heard one such type refer to a
forecast of two inches of snow as “shovel trouble.” Really? That
much snow is barely “broom trouble.” I tire of these attempts to
titillate me with such “exciting” weather. I prefer local radio or
the more sedate WDAZ broadcast to the nice haircuts and
mispronunciation of local town names I find at other places.
Act V Public Service Announcement
Get educated about winter and you will fear it less. Start by
reading the paper and listening to local radio. I would also check
www.weather.gov for a sane, sensible weather forecast plus a fair
amount of weather information. Before you take to the roads, try
www.511mn.org on the internet or dial 511 from any phone, it is a
local call. Finally if you want to inoculate yourself from trouble on
the winter roads, the please slow down, even slower than you think
you should. Let the cell phone zombies pass you on the ice, for they
know no better.
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