Ah yes, winter time. The leaves fall off trees, the temperature drops, Christmas season comes upon us, and the number of reported chimney fires increases exponentially like Nintendo Wii sales this year. And it snows. In Cincinnati it snows…maybe not a lot, but enough to shut down the city. Up until last year I used to make fun of the people in this area for freaking out about a little bit of snow. Being from Northern Ohio driving in the snow was never a big deal. For five years in Cincinnati I never thought that driving in the snow was a big deal. So what, it’s slippery? Hit the brakes a little lighter and a little sooner and you will be sure to stop BEFORE the intersection.
I want to tell a little story about my experience last winter with snow and how my respect for Cincinnati snow has increased dramatically when snow meets hills. It was any old Tuesday afternoon in January, and the meteorologists were predicting a large snow storm that afternoon that would continue into the evening. “Big deal,” I thought, “get over it. It’s just a little snow.” Around 1pm or so the snow started falling; big flakes blowing in the wind beginning to cover everything on the ground. What a beautiful site. It remained pretty solid for most of the afternoon. Around 3pm my boss started walking around the office letting people that lived far away from work leave early to avoid getting stuck in traffic. I thought he was being a little cautious, but nonetheless I took his offer and headed for home.
This is where the fun begins.
I live about 30 miles from work. It generally takes me 30-35 minutes to get home with no traffic. I figured the roads would be a little messy, and it might take me an hour this time. I actually thought that. One hour. Oops.
To spare some of the details, it took me 2.5 hours in stop-and-go traffic to get to the entrance to my apartment complex. Wow, 2.5 hours and I am still just almost there. I’ll just drive up this hill and we’ll call it a day. Gravity was against me. Gravity was against my manual-transmission car and me. I could not get enough traction on the ground to move forward…in 1st or 2nd gear. I had no chance to get any momentum to even try to get up the hill. After about 30 minutes of moving almost nowhere, I finally threw in the white flag, parked my car, and walk the rest of the way up to my apartment. A full three hours after I had left work.
So, what have we learned here? Well, maybe Cincinnatians aren’t being completely ridiculous when they cry and moan about all of the snow, but lack of driving skills sure doesn’t help the situation. I think this year I may carry some chains in my trunk.