Thursday, May 19, 2011

Tornados vs. Nor'easters

Today I met a someone from my writing group face to face for the first time. My writing group is all online, and we have members in the group as far away as Spain and Australia. At least two of the members that I know of are in Colorado, and D- is one of them. I have written to her online before, and we have critiqued each-other's work before, but this was the first time we've had a chance to meet. She's a wonderful lady, with a great sense of humor, and her writing is really excellent.
The subject of yesterday's tornado warning came up, and she told one of her stories of being in the area where one touched down. She said that the weather goes a little crazy, with wind and rain and hail, all of which we had yesterday. She said that you can tell a tornado is coming when it gets suddenly and completely still, and the sky takes on a green tint. I said that was interesting, and a good thing to lear. I probably wouldn't have ever known that without her telling me, since we don't have tornadoes, as a regular thing, in Massachusetts.
"No," she said, "but you have nor'easters!"
"Yes," I replied, "but where you watch the sky to tell you if a tornado is coming, we watch the stores."
"The stores?"
"Yep. When all he milk and bread just up and disappears, a nor'easter's coming!"
D- laughed, but I wasn't kidding. For some reason, it seems, whenever the weather reports the possibility of a storm of any severity in Massachusetts, certain people seem hard-wired to go stock up on milk, bread, and other perishables.
I don't understand it.
I've lived in this State for 42 years, and I don't recall ever having the stores shut down for any serious length of time. We have had some humdinger storms, too. The blizzard of '78 comes to mind. Some of the storms we've had in recent years have been pretty bad. The canopy over the pumps at one of the gas stations near my house collapsed this past year due to the weight of the snow. That must have been something to see!
But through all this, I don't recall ever going without supplies for any serious amount of time. Not like the flood victims down south, or the hurricane victims in Florida... nothing like that.
But still, certain people hear the words 'nor'easter', or 'storm warning' coming from their television sets and they head right out to the stores like they're programmed. I'm pretty sure there's some kind of a kick-back network out there. When the stores have overstocked, or if sales are down that month, the store-owner calls his cousin, the t.v. meteorologist and says "Can you help me out? There'll be something in it for you..." Next thing you know, "winter storm warning" is coming from the lips of the man standing in the newsroom in front of the map of Massachusetts who, if you look closely, is pointing at Worcester and calling it Gloucester. There is a sudden run on milk and bread, and the store-owner smiles as he holds the door for all these people, suggesting they look at the display of snow shovels he has by the door.
I say, let'em buy up all the stuff in a panic. I'll wait and get some really fresh bread off the truck that'll be there in a day or two.
Another thing I've noticed about storms, especially winter storms, is that there are basically 3 types of drivers in the snow.

  1. Those who are careful, but still know how to drive and keep the traffic moving. 
  2. Those who seem to have something to prove, and drive even faster than they usually do. I tend to assume they are younger. Some of these geniuses have themselves SUVs, and they tend to forget that, though it does help you go and not get stuck, 4-wheel drive won't help you stop when all 4 wheels are on the same sheet of ice. I'm kind of counting on natural selection to weed these people out of the herd.
  3. People who seem to have no idea how to drive in the snow, and move at a crawl no matter the conditions: fresh deep snow, fresh shallow snow, plowed snow, plowed sanded snow, and when the road is wet and the air is chilly. 
That third category can be kind of annoying, and I used to think that they were transplanted out-of-staters who just never learned to drive in the snow. Now I think differently. Now, I think their cars are actually going just as fast as they can at the moment, but they're weighed down by all the bread and milk they have stored in the trunk.
Weird people.

Talk to you later!

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