|January 28, 2014, 11 A.M.|
I told my dad today that I knew how to drive in the snow, that I lived on a mountain in Germany for 5 years and could hold my own through a slide.
Southerners do not know how to drive in the snow, because it doesn't snow here. Southerners don't have salt trucks, snow blowers, or snow shovels, because it doesn't snow here. Southerners, also, just really like to be at home... after making a milk and bread run. So when the roads start to look a little icy, and schools start to think about closing, and the snow keeps falling... our first thought is to get! to! WalMart! and back! home! before the first and usually only flake falls; our second is to get! the! kids! from! school! first! because it's rare that school is in session when there's a threat of snow. Southerners close schools, because it doesn't snow here and we don't have salt trucks, snow blowers, or snow shovels.
That's what happened today...
In a matter of an hour or two, offices closed and schools closed and the entire city of Birmingham decided they'd flood the snowy, icy roads with cars...
It was no one's fault. It wasn't predicted correctly- the storm came much further north than anticipated. By the time the snow started falling, it was too late. The ground was cold. It was going to stick. People made decisions as best they could... It was what it was, at that point.
No one had a chance to make a milk and bread run... Except for those who are actually spending the night in the grocery stores and super stores!
A coworker left out one end of our parking lot, and an hour and a half later, she came walking back in... She'd driven maybe 100 yards to the other end of the parking in that time, and decided it'd be best to come back to work.
As I type this, I'm still at work. At 0030.
(And apparently the landlines at work turn off midnight... who knew?)
Turns out, the best thing I learned in Germany about driving in the snow... is to not drive in the snow.
We walked to Target- bought food and pillows and comfortable clothes. We played card games and dice games until we all realized it was past our *yawn* bedtimes...
My boys are safe at my parents' house, in cozy beds... thrilled to have gotten more than a dusting of snow.
They thought all of this was just an exciting adventure!
Kids are stuck at schools overnight. Parents are trapped in cars, wishing they could get to their kids. The interstates are still full of thousands of people who just can't go any further until the road conditions get better. Warming stations and shelters are popping up all over the city; hotels are booked with people camped in the lobbies. Strangers are opening their homes and riding around on 4-wheelers trying to get people to a warm, dry, and safe place.
I don't really know what to say to wrap all of this up...
Other than, strangers aren't always the scary people we teach our kids to avoid. There are kind, loving souls out there willing to lend a hand to a neighbor-- even if that neighbor happens to be in the stranded car next to them on the interstate on a snowy day in Alabama...
I pray everyone has found a warm place to stay for the night. I pray your kids think that staying overnight at school is an exciting adventure. I pray that if you're still out there, braving the roads to get home to your loved ones, that there's a warm bed waiting for you.
Also? I pray there's a freakin' hot cup of coffee waiting for us all in the morning when the sun comes up...
And an open gas station, because my car is on E.
Sleep well, Alabama.