Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Severe Weather, Part II

It snowed on Sunday. This snow was somewhat unexpected, as the forecasters had predicted rain, but because even rain when the temperature is under 50 degrees will send this city into a frenzy, I shouldn’t have been surprised by the DC-area reaction to the weather. I was, however, a bit surprised by my mother’s Monday email:

Are you snowed in? The news reports are saying that it was quite bad there last night and this morning. They said that there was a "Weather Emergency" issued for D.C. What is a "Weather Emergency"? Does it mean that no one is to go outside?

After I finished laughing, I was glad to know that our weather hysteria reached all the way back to the Midwest . . . and that three inches of snow can be the impetus for an Emergency.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Severe Weather?

This past week, DC ground to a its typical wintertime as the city was coated with a few inches of the infamous “wintry mix” of snow, ice, and freezing rain that strikes fear into the hearts of the Capitol-area residents. My office, the federal government, and schools (if they bothered to open at all) closed early to ensure that everyone could be home before the roads got too slick. The government and offices opened late if at all the next day, and schools remained closed. The few inches of snow on the ground—2 inches? 3 inches?—hardly seemed sufficient to justify all of the hoopla. But, after surviving one winter in DC, I’ve begun to get used to chaos caused by just a little bit of snow.

Well, I thought I had gotten used to the fear. On Saturday night, four days after it had last snowed, I managed to get my car stuck in a parking space. Although the exact sequence of events is a bit embarrassing for someone who grew up driving in snow, it is sufficient to say that I overestimated the abilities of my car on ice and found myself in need of the services of a tow truck. I called for assistance, and a tow truck arrived 5 hours and 15 minutes later. And why did it take so long? The severe weather, of course.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Bears Down

“I’m sorry for your loss.” Each time it was repeated to me last Monday, I couldn’t help but ask myself, who died? But then I remembered that it was my team’s Super Bowl loss over which I was in mourning. Yes, sports mourning is a rather inane concept, and I’d like to be able to say that I did not shed a tear over the loss of my beloved Cubs in 2003, but on occasion I fall victim to a bit of depression after my team almost wins the big one. Indeed, it’s taken me over a week to be able to write about this loss.

It’s not so much that I’m a sore loser, but that after all of the excitement it is difficult to return to the norm. I’ll miss being able to wear my new favorite hat with extra pride. I’ll miss having a reason to excitedly read sports coverage. And most of all, I’ll miss my weekend excursions to the Billy Goat Tavern to cheer for the Bears with the Chicago expat community. It was comforting to be able to find a little piece of home—complete with South Side accents (real or fake) and stories about the bitter cold—in a city that so shuns such strong identities.

Okay, so maybe I’m not really in mourning, but I have unquestionably experienced a loss.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Under Construction

Montpelier, James Madison's home currently under reconstruction. Orange, Virginia