A dusting for the record books


By Bill Colvard - [email protected]



Two days trapped in the house by a dusting of snow has not been my idea of a good time. That was quite a dusting, wasn’t it? As dustings of snow go, I would hazard a guess this one probably set some records.

The Weatherwoman Who Cried Wolf chose an unfortunate moment to be conservative in her forecast. As so often happens, there were cries for her head at my house. Or rather, for her firing. And not just for the inaccuracy of the forecast. I call for her head on a stick whenever I find the forecast distasteful. Killing the messenger — and let’s be clear, we are speaking figuratively here — may not be particularly effective, but it can be very satisfying.

I learned this technique from my little sister who regularly called for Tom Coughlin to be kicked to the curb whenever the Giants found themselves playing catch-up going into the third quarter. Which was not unusual. Cries of “Fire the coach! I want him out of here!” would reverberate through the house with every single play that went south. An interception by the opposing team could bring on screams for Coughlin’s job that would leave your ears ringing for a week.

Later on in the game, if the Giants managed to pull it out and ultimately win, which then, unlike now, was not all that unusual, she would begrudgingly hire the coach back. “OK, you can have your job back,” she’d say to the television. “Just do better next week,” and then we’d finish off the chips and dip.

She came by it honestly. Though she probably didn’t remember it since he died when she was only three, our grandfather coached professional wrestling matches from the edge of his red vinyl couch every Saturday afternoon. There was often more action in his living room than there was on the screen. He died of a massive heart attack while still in his 60s, and though it was never confirmed, I always suspected the heart attack was the result of a wrestling match gone spectacularly wrong.

Like grandpa, my sister’s gone now, and if there is a hereafter, and there are professional sports there, (which I realize is a lot of ifs), it must be quite something with the two of them screaming bloody murder at the angelic blood sports on their celestial screens.

But I have since come to the conclusion that there is absolutely no reason to limit screaming at the television to sporting events. I have expanded the family quirk to weather prediction. I fire the forecaster every time I find a forecast distasteful. Then, if the forecast proves true, I fire her again. And if it’s wrong or inadequate, guess who I’m sending to the unemployment line? You got it. Fired one more time.

Because this stuff is serious. I have a 30-mile commute in each direction, and my blood pressure can only take so much white knuckling. I don’t want the snow to do to me what wrestling did to Grandpa.

Up until now, I’ve taken comfort that most of that commute is via interstate highway, which I rationalized was safer than the curvy country roads. Seems like the interstate would be the best maintained of my possible routes and the first to be cleared, and besides, it would have enough traffic that the accumulation of snow and ice wouldn’t be nearly as bad.

These assumptions have all proven faulty. Most of the traffic on I-77 during a snowstorm consists of great big trucks who are speeding down the highway at exactly the same speed they would be traveling if it was sunny and seventy degrees. Which, in white-out conditions, makes my white-knuckled 40-miles-an-hour creeping pace in the right lane more than a little dangerous.

So, yesterday, when the four-inch dusting of snow was causing multiple trucks to fall off the highway, I decided to work from home. And learned why having an unlimited supply of coffee and nowhere to go during the workday was not a good combination.

And then today, with trucks falling off the highway again, I did what I had never done before. Let the snow keep me from going to work two days in a row. Back in the day, a foot of snow didn’t keep me at home. And three feet only kept me home for a day.

Which is why I miss public transportation. Commuting in snow and ice is a job best left to professionals. Sure, a derailed train can kill you just as fast as being run over by an out-of-control tractor-trailer, but the great thing is you don’t have to worry until the train is careening off the rails. Unlike driving, which is nothing but misery start to finish, even if you make it to work and back unscathed.

So I’m going to keep firing weather forecasters until there’s a Mount Airy to Elkin commuter train, preferably one that runs at least hourly, even when it snows. And a club car would not go unappreciated.

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By Bill Colvard

[email protected]

Reach Bill Colvard at 336-415-4699.

Reach Bill Colvard at 336-415-4699.

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