Time to get downright proud of weathering snow and ice

January 29, 2004|By Kevin Cowherd

LET THE word go out to every corner of the land, and let it be accompanied by the pealing of church bells and ringing of cell phones and beeping of instant messages on Pentium 3 processors.

Let Letterman and Leno and Conan O'Brien know, and the morning shock jocks on radio, and the snarky columnists from the slick weekly newsmagazines.

Let them know this: We're not snow wimps around here anymore.

Nope, those days are over, hon.

No more whining about the weather from us. No, sir. Fact is, winter doesn't much scare us anymore.

In fact, we, um, kinda like it.

After all, this is the second winter in a row that it's felt like Juneau, Alaska, around here.

Over the last three days alone, we had snow, sleet, freezing rain, single-digit temperatures and more snow.

We had car windshields glazed over so thick they won't thaw until July.

We had 35-mph gusts blowing snow across roads and sending hats into another ZIP code.

And not a bit of it fazed us.

Well, not much, anyway.

Oh, sure, we closed the schools for the third day in a row.

And, yeah, there wasn't much traffic on the roads, since no one was going to work.

And, OK, there weren't many people in the stores or restaurants, since that would have involved, well, leaving the house.

And who in their right mind is going to leave the house when it snows?

But ... never mind all that.

Take my word for it: This town has a new attitude about snow.

Yes, sir, we're tough. We're battle-hardened.

We stared down the dragon, and the dragon blinked.

Or he slinked off.

Or something like that.

Truth be told, we're better at dealing with snow than metaphors.

And we are better at dealing with snow, honest. Why, we've almost become blase about snow in these parts.

No more panicky runs to the supermarket for bread, milk and toilet paper every time the forecast calls for an inch or two.

No more mass freak-outs when Norm Lewis or Marty Bass or even the great Tom Tasselmyer stands in front of the Doppler radar map and points out a fast-moving "Alberta clipper" sweeping down from Canada bearing icy precip.

No more peeking out the window at work every five minutes to see if it's snowing, no more jittery meetings around the coffee machine with colleagues who whisper: "How bad are the roads?"

Nope, that's all over with now.

(Oh, look at me. I'm so proud of us, I'm starting to tear up.)

So this one's for you, Baltimore. Time for all of us to take a bow for our new, enlightened approach to severe weather.

After what we've been through the last two winters, we can hold our heads high.

We can puff out our chests.

There can be a bounce in our step, a swagger in our walk now.

Now we're the ones who get to look down on Charlotte, N.C., and Atlanta and all those other towns where they're completely unable to deal with a little snow.

Now we're the ones who can watch news footage of traffic crawling on the Capital Beltway and shake our heads and mutter: "What is wrong with those people?! A couple inches of snow and they flip out!"

Now it's our turn to act smug and superior about any place where the local newscast leads off with a five-minute report about the fleet of salt trucks ready to hit the roads as soon as the first flakes drift from the sky.

Boy, it sure feels good.

We should trot out this condescending attitude more often.

Meantime, now that we're dealing with the snow and freezing cold so splendidly, maybe we could even market the region as a winter tourist attraction.

I'm thinking we need a new slogan to get things started.

How about: "Baltimore: Come Scrape Your Windshield With Us!"

Or, "Baltimore: Land of Endless Slush."

Or maybe, "Believe This: It's Freakin' Cold!"

I just hope we have enough hotels to handle the crowds.

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