Expatriate Owl

A politically-incorrect perspective that does not necessarily tow the party line, on various matters including but not limited to taxation, academia, government and religion.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Snowed In is an Attitude




 Understand that I basically hate snow.  But I grew up having to deal with it, so I take it in stride.

Storm Nemo has dumped mucho snow on Long Island, and mas mucho in Boston and the rest of Eastern New England.  Our congregation couldn't make any minyan at all for Shabbat for the first time in almost 20 years.  In our area at least, there were no power or internet outages.

My neighbor has (A) a heavy duty snow thrower; and (B) a teenage son with an enterprising spirit who borrowed Dear Old Dad's equipment and did a yeoman's job of clearing our driveway, setting me back $140.00 but saving wear and tear on my body, and freeing up my time to do some pressing paperwork.

So now, our driveway is clear -- at least to the street.  The problem is that the Town Highway Department plows (together with their retained contingent freelancers) block the driveways when they clear the streets.  Once the streets are in fact passable, the plows do a disservice to the residents by continuing to plow the streets and depositing the snow in a berm across the driveway entrances.  Methinks that they are doing it as busywork into overtime hours with overtime pay.

Another problem is that they deposit a mixture of sand and salt on the streets.  The salt part is arguable appropriate, but the sand costs the public money.  Not in taxes, but in car maintenance fees, and, for that matter, home cleaning.  The linoleum tiles in our foyer bear plenty of scratch marks from years of sand clinging to soles of shoes and boots during the winter.  Before I came to Long Island, the municipalities where I lived didn't use as much sand.

But the most dangerous problem is that the plows pile up their snow in large mountains at the corners of road intersections, thereby obstructing vision.  I saw a few close ones today, but fortunately, no collisions.

All of that wouldn't be so bad, except that the snow gets piled so as to obstruct the road drainage culverts.  We are in for some warmer temperatures and some rain in the next 24 hours, and all of that water will not be able to drain off.  So it will all turn to ice when the temperatures drop below freezing at night.

The people of Long Island just don't know how to handle snow.  It is not in their culture (I use the third person because I still do not consider myself to really be a Long Islander, even after 20-something years.  We would move off the Island tomorrow, but, if truth be told, we're still doing too well at this point.).  People a bit more inland remain unfazed by the types of snowstorms that cripple Long Island.  About 3 years ago, when I was back home visiting Mom and Dad, some Yooper relatives were also in town, and they were laughing at the 8 inches of snow we had just gotten.  But here, people see 3 snowflakes and they go into panic mode.


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