So the seasonal hysteria has begun. I'm not talking about the Christmas holiday mad last dash to the mall. I'm talking about the possibility of white cold stuff known locally as snow. According to Accuweather, the Northeast will go either all or nothing in terms of snowfall early next week. It will snow on the scale of the "MONSTER" March storm of 1993 (if you remember that one, you're a better person than me) or we will only be dealt a "glancing blow" as the storm tracks south, then north and out to sea. Now, I know winter has just begun, and I also know snow is part and parcel of living in the mid-Atlantic states. I also know we've been lucky so far. My friends in the UK have already had enough snow to last them the next few centuries. And other friends in the South and the Midwest have already had their taste of old man winter. But as I look outside my office window, I see a bare, virgin, landscape, so far devoid of any frozen precipitation. I do realize it's only a matter of time.
Thanks to this prevaricating nature of the forecast, talking heads everywhere up and down the coast now have a new purpose; to frighten the masses to death. Films and stories of past blizzards will emerge, urgent soundbites decrying the need for mobilization and shelter will be broadcast, and the entire populace will run, frightened out of their minds, to the nearest grocery store, where they will succeed in buying out supplies of bread, eggs and milk. And enough of these items to last for two weeks at least, will be dropped into shopping baskets. As if the roads will never be passable and french toast can save the day. It's amazing, and the phenomenon happens every time.
I'm not giving into the hype. The snow blower will be filled because that is what we always do around Christmastime. I will go to the store because I go every week. And I will not listen to the pundits predicting Armageddon and Apocalypse Now. If the snow falls, it falls. The township will be out to plow and the roads will be cleared in less than a day. Things will be a bit messier than before, admittedly, but also a bit prettier. And perhaps we'll all move at a slightly slower pace, which is good, all things considered.