Yesterday we realized that we had forgotten to get a few things that we needed at the grocery store and talked about going out to get them before the weekend. We both felt kind of unambitious (call it lazy if you will, but remember that kindness is a lovely and important quality) and decided that we'd get out today, Friday, and pick up the few things that we wanted and needed. As day began to turn into evening, we learned that about a foot of snow is forecast for this weekend. But mama had to write, so we didn't get out to the store last evening. When we got to the store today we found a parking lot so full of cars that we knew people were stocking up because of pre-snowstorm hysteria.
I will be the first to admit that we do sometimes have horrendous storms here. In fact, we had a blizzard just last month. We got lucky with that blizzard because it was full of wet snow and the temperature the next day was 45 degrees, so the snow departed pretty quickly. We have had blizzards during my years living here that dumped so much snow that it was impossible for most people to get anywhere for many days after the snow fell. We had just such a blizzard on Christmas Eve Day in 1982 which dropped two feet of snow (officially 23.8 inches, so I'm calling it two feet, darn it). Unfortunately, a lot of people didn't listen to the storm warnings and were caught completely unprepared. There were many folks struggling on foot through drifts several feet deep just to get basic food supplies for their families.
Since then, many people will panic when a big storm is forecast, blizzard or not. Those of us who have lived here for many years don't get as worried when it's simply a forecast of a heavy storm, especially at this time of year. Unless it's actually a blizzard, a storm at this time of year is usually a wet spring snow. It weighs down branches and makes travel messy for a day or so and makes us cranky because it is supposed to be Spring, after all, but it doesn't bring the city to a standstill.
I guess that the people who were panic shopping today were thinking about the blizzard last month rather than listening to the weather forecasts. When we walked in to the store, we saw that a huge display of 24-packs of bottled water was almost completely empty. We looked at each other, a bit surprised. Yes, when we have a heavy, wet snow it can affect the power stations and we might be without electricity in different areas for various amounts of time. But the water still keeps running, folks. I said to Trent, "It's just a snowstorm, not the Zombie Apocalypse!"
Getting the few things that we wanted was a hair-raising experience. There were so many people in the store that you felt like you needed to clasp your arms tightly to your sides to avoid having them mauled in a drive-by cart accident. People were blasting around with their carts like they'd never been in a supermarket before. They careened through the aisles like they wanted to get their shopping done before the rioting broke out and the flesh-eating hordes descended.
We made the decision to only get the few things we had coupons for at that store and get the remainder at a smaller, less busy market. At the checkout, I was joking with our cashier. She told me that she could tell by our purchases that we just needed a few things and weren't panicking. More than one customer had come through her line and spent five hundred dollars in a pre-snow stocking-up frenzy. She laughed when I commented that the Zombie Apocalypse was not upon us and we didn't need Sheriff Rick to protect us because it's just a heavy spring snow.
Our next stop was a quieter and less nerve-wracking experience. It still took about an hour after we got home before we could fully shed the jitters we had gotten from being around all of this near hysteria. We will know by this time tomorrow whether the snowstorm materializes and how much snow will dump on us. Whether it's a little or a lot, we will have sufficient supplies of food, drink, and the all-important toilet paper. And most of the city will be fine, too, even if it isn't the Zombie Apocalypse.
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