First, a bit of a disclaimer.
I understand that the blizzard of nearly two weeks ago was a terrible thing for many people. The Chicago Tribune did a Sunday cover story last week, showcasing the people who had died from the inclement weather. There were those who suffered heart attacks from shoveling such dense and copious amounts of snow. There were those who were killed in car crashes, brought on directly by the storm. There were those who were stranded in their vehicles as snow piled deeper around them (most notably on Lake Shore Drive). And I'm certain there were pet owners who...I can't even bear to write it. My family was blessed and spared such things. While I offer my sincerest condolences to those who have lost...anything as a result of this weather, I must write this from my own personal experience with the storm. I cannot do otherwise.
It's melting now. Temperatures are threatening to reach into the 40s if not the 50s. Already what was once over a foot of snow is now on its way to becoming a muddy, cytoplasmic muck beneath the newfound sun. Despite that, for a time, for a brief and glorious time, it was like living in a polar location.
Word of the impending blizzard first surfaced on a Saturday night...nearly three days ahead of time. I thought back and attempted to calculate when I had ever before seen a megastorm forecast so far in advance. I could not come up with one. "Must be serious," I thought, loathe to succumb to media influence.
Then businesses began to close. Schools and government offices followed suit. Something was approaching. Something the size of that mothership from Independence Day, crawling its way across the Midwest and depositing the very wrath of God in its wake. Suburbanites and urban dwellers alike cleared the shelves of stores across the Chicago metro area, presumably to bring back to their homes in order to fortify them against the storm. After all, we might not emerge from our dwellings for a full day, or two days, or maybe even a month from the way things were sounding. There was a tangible and distinct sensation in the air, one that reminded me of things I have read about the Cuban Missile Crisis. Or more generation-pertinent, the first third of the TV movie, The Day After, when everyone knows a nuclear strike is coming, it's just a question of when. Even my droning day job closed its doors early. I then drove home in a hearty, but manageable, snowfall. At home, I watched the outside world from the second floor window, waiting like King Theoden on the parapet of Helm's Deep in The Two Towers Minute by minute I watched the snow fall and thought, "is this the best you can do, Saruman?" (last pop culture reference I will make, honest to God.)
Then all hell broke loose. The winds rose to 50-60mph. The snowfall approached a rate of 3 inches per hour. No one...and I do mean no one in this busy, overpopulated sprawl...was out on the streets. It was like the end of the world.
But I could watch it all from inside, drinking coffee. Warm, sheltered, and reading and writing...with no possible expectations from the outside world. Then came sauce for the goose. Not only did my day job close early, it did not open again for 48 hours.
In keeping with my tendency of being weird, I like snow. I like cold. It is far easier for me to stay warm in winter than cool in summer. Freezing cold keeps criminals indoors (sorry, the police volunteer in me.) The blizzard was exciting, in otherwise damned drab and uninteresting existence.I'm sorry to see it go.
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