Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Snowballs in Hell

I have lived on the East Coast -- particularly Upstate New York -- all my life. I have lived through 32 winters, with 32 snowfalls. There have been 32 seasons I've had to wear gloves, wear a heavy jacket, and get into a vehicle that needed to warm up before it could drive. It's never really snuck up on me.

I have noticed recently that the science of meteorology has made great advances. Far are we from the days when the Farmer's Almanac was all we had to go by. We can actually "predict" weather using scientific equipment such as satellites and radar and doppler radar and maybe even something cool I don't even know about. And this information is given to us in advance, hours -- sometimes days -- before it occurs. So in theory, we as a society can make the best preparations possible to account for the weather, factor it into our activities, and plan our busy lives accordingly.

Syracuse, New York, particularly, is a place that is no stranger to snowfall. In fact, the fine citizens of the Salt City (and it's newest resident, Salt City Saul, plug-plug) have been the proud winners of the Golden Snowball Award for four years running, and in competition for a fifth. (Hear those footsteps, Buffalo???) Snow is simply a way of life, and most of the great citizens of this fine quasi-metropolitan area make arrangements to deal with weather, such as purchasing heavy jackets, mittens, toques, boots, shovels, car brushes and the like. We are a resourceful people.

However ...

Despite the preparation of our intrepid citizenry, our government and civic leaders have failed us. In fact, I think I can say without a shred of hyperbole, that whichever city department was responsible for road conditons today, should be categorically fired. They should be thrown out on the street. Or better yet, put in my 2002 Saturn SL1 (aka the "Cranberry Cruiser") in the middle of any one of Eastwood's many side streets, forced to shift quickly between Reverse and Drive and Reverse and Drive, seventy to eighty times before that shimmering metallic vessel begins to finally rock forth and begrudgingly shuttle through the tundra.

(I apologize to my literally thousands and thousands of fans and readers around the country and the world for the "local" flavor of this post, but anyone who has been in this city in the past two days knows what I'm talking about.)

Where the #^$% are the plows???? I was forced to buy a $16 emergency shovel this morning (luckily the convenience store I bought it from is only one block away) to dig my car out of the snow. And I park on the street! Not a plow to be seen. Not any indication of any snow plow having even glanced toward my sidestreet.

The City of Syracuse might not have a ton of spare money lying around, but one would think they would allocate a couple bucks here and there to get every single available truck -- plow to the ground -- to power through all the various side streets in the city. This is just good business. It allows people to get to work closer to on time, to be more productive, to spend more money in the city, and to create more money for the community. For example, I was supposed to go to a movie tonight, and perhaps spend a couple bucks on a birthday present for myself (I haven't been spoiled in a while). But now I'm staying home in my warm, dry house, typing up this crap.

The driving is awful. There is snow higher than the height of my car's seat, and I'm talking about on the road, not a driveway or the plowed side of a street. I had to do so much work to get to work today, that I was already exhausted when I got there.

I know that Mayor Matt Driscoll reads this blog daily, so some advice to you, sir: Starting at about 11PM tonight (since the really bad snowfall is supposed to stop around 10:00), put every available snowplow out on the streets, clearing out all the streets. I don't pretend to know the first thing about plowing, but I know that I should see them all over the place, driving around with their plows DOWN, not up in the air. Pay the money, City of Syracuse. Make it happen.

Oh, and happy Valentine's Day, my loyal and faithful subjects. Love ya, babies.

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