Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Tips for North Carolinians from a "Snow Pro"

This weekend, due to some atmospheric fluke, North Carolina (where I happen to reside) fell prey to a rare occurrance - it was snow, ha ha. Several inches fell overnight on Friday. In North Carolina this is called a "statewide emergency." I lived in Minnesota for ten years, and we called this "a good day in April". To be fair, the lack of any sort of snow removal services left the roads pretty dangerous, but there are still some basic things I think everyone should know. I have used my expertise to develop this list of tips for those not quite accustomed to the wintry weather.

1. Your four-wheel-drive truck slides as easily as my Ford Taurus.

Friction doesn't care that you've got testosterone running through your fuel-injection system. Slow down. The surface area of your tires is only slightly greater than that of mine Your tires are made out of the same stuff as mine and unless you've got chains on yours, you're sliding around just as much as me.

2. Don't let your kids sled in the street. Ever.

This weekend my neighborhood turned into a veritable sledding party. Every family in town was out there with their kids sliding around. Lots of fun, except they were all sledding down the street. I know it looks like the street has disappeared! But trust me, it is still there underneath the snow, and my car is driving down it. Anything below bumper level is not likely to be seen by me, especially if it's moving swiftly towards my car.

3. Despite their apparent absence, the lines in the parking lot still exist.

And it is still possible with some moderate amount of geometric reasoning to align your cars in an orderly fashion. Usually you're either parallel or perpendicular to some feature of the landscape, such as a sidewalk, kart korral, or little divider island thing with a tree. If all else fails you can line up with the car next to you.

4. A toboggan is something you sled on, not something you wear on your head.

I was so confused the first time I heard a crime alert on campus. They described a man who had been accused of something, standing so tall with these facial features, wearing a black coat and a black toboggan.


A few months later I found out that they meant a hat. I realize that these two things are usually only used in cold weather, so it may be a bit confusing. However, it's really quite simple - a toboggan is a type of sled, and the thing you wear on your head is most commonly called a "stocking cap," "snow hat," or even just "hat."

5. Produce will return after the "big melt."

So don't buy it all please. I actually could not find an onion to buy on Friday.

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