This post is in some small way inspired by Sarah and Steve Hate People. Although regular readers are well aware that I don’t need much inspiration to show how much people and their behaviors tend to get under my skin, especially when that skin is already covered in extra layers of warmth.
The blizzard of 2015 has struck the North Shore in Massachusetts. I spent most of Monday in a nice warm house with John, going in and out to both keep the falling snow from totally overwhelming us and to give Dicky, John’s dog, a safe place to poop and pee.
One of the things I love about a blizzard is the near apocalyptic effect it has on a town. Only one or two utility vehicles are on the road, people struggle to keep their houses from becoming death traps and they also warn you that robberies are more likely to take place at this time. As someone who spent all day yesterday trying to keep the snow from piling up to the full six feet that it was trying for, I say, bring it on.
What I hate about a blizzard are the people who act like they never saw it coming.
Blizzards are the easiest to disaster to spot. Having no real experience in meteorology I can only assume this is the case because in my lifetime of growing up in a state where winter fuels the primary aspect of our tourist industry, I have rarely witnessed a freak blizzard that wasn’t advertised a few weeks ahead of time.
I can understand if you have an erratic pay schedule without a lot of hours at work and maybe you really had to wait until the last possible minute to get those necessary items like food and Advil. But what I don’t get are the doomsday hoarders who rush the grocery store literally a full day before the actual disaster as if that extra role of toilet paper is really going to be the difference between life and death.
In 2013, when I experienced a nor’easter for the first time, I was still working at Generimart. My shift wasn’t until 3:30 and I busted my ass walking to work in the nastiest conditions, making it to the parking lot by 1:00. That’s when they called me to tell me that the store was closing in an hour due to the governor declaring a state of emergency.
I quickly thought “fuck that”, went into the store anyway and punched in. This way, I could spend the hour getting customers checked out in a timely fashion and the store would be required by the state of Massachusetts to pay me for four hours.
You would not believe the totals coming through my line. Several customers had over a hundred dollars worth of food and other winter supplies were coming through my line and this blizzard had definitely had a good week or so of advisory warnings preceding it. Add to the fact that many of them would have to be on the highway to get home, even though those roads were being closed very shortly. This was not a freak disaster biting us in the ass, but something that these people obviously had the time and money to be better prepared for.
The next big thing that irks me are the people with little to no consideration for others. This is annoying any time of year, but it becomes particularly grating in the aftermath of a blizzard.
Last night, I spent some time trying to keep a path cleared from the doorway to the road. This way, heaven forbid, if someone in our house needed an ambulance the EMTs wouldn’t be risking their own safety trying to climb over mountains of snow. Then, later in the evening as the worst of the blizzard started to die down, I shoveled the sidewalk in front of our house to the adjacent driveway, so that people passing by our house on foot would not have to take risks walking in the road.
A part of me really wanted to at least dig out the front porches of my neighbors, but I did not do this for two reasons. One: In the town of Salem, people have a way of mistaking a good Samaritan for a looter and Two: It’s not my job to shovel every sidewalk in Massachusetts.
Unfortunately, the people living next door to us hired someone else to dig their own house and driveway out of the snow. The homeowners had only returned to their home late in the evening but were not supervising the contractors who started working after dark. The idiots proceeded to throw the excess snow next to our house, blocking the gas vent that I had worked hard to keep uncovered. The sad thing is that if we had died of carbon monoxide poisoning because of their stupidity, we would be the ones who would get blamed for negligence.
All I’m saying is that a little teamwork and consideration goes a long way in times like these. Speaking of consideration, let me end on a point that I’m sure I’ve written about before.
I have come to accept the fact that my body reacts to the cold a little differently than others. Maybe it’s my weight. Maybe its environmental conditioning or a hiccup in the genetic makeup, or any other number of reasons that I have neither the time or the energy to list. The point is that I have an unusual tolerance for the cold.
That’s not to say that I’m immune to the effects of the cold. I have had frostbite before and it hurts like a bitch. And obviously I need to be warm enough to avoid a certain medical condition known as death. But when I’m too warm, I start to feel physically sick. This is especially true when I am engaged in any kind of physical activity that has the effect of burning calories.
Depending on the actual temperature in the air, could be just warm enough wearing a light t-shirt or a sweatshirt. No coat. And someone just has to stick their overly bundled nose into my business.
“Aren’t you cold?”
“You can’t be warm enough in that.”
You’re right. I can’t be warm enough. Yes, I am cold. Now fuck off and mind your own business. Or that’s what I’d love to say, but I’m usually performing some kind of job with a paycheck on the line. It’s not that people aren’t being considerate by asking me if I’m warm enough, but the line to cross is when someone presumes to tell me that I need to put a coat on.
If you were a vegetarian and some random stranger walked up to you at a restaurant and said, “Aren’t you hungry? You can’t be getting enough nourishment from all those vegetables and tofu. God, order a steak.”
It’s your body. It’s no one’s business what you put in it and that’s all I ask during any portion of the winter where my personal temperature is concerned. Don’t presume to tell me how cold I must be, just because your body would be wolf meat in a survival situation.