It is another frigid, freezing day here in Dallas. It is a mere 15.9 degrees (-8.94 C), though the weather site says it feels like 16.0 degrees (-8.89 C). I guess it is the heat index that makes it feel so much more warm and balmy. But as we all know, it isn’t so much the heat that gets you; it’s the humidity.
I’m joking of course. Cold is cold. And I know Dallasites have a reputation around the world for being weenies when it comes to cold weather, and particularly when it snows. (See my earlier post on this subject here.)
But I’ll let you in on a little secret.
Dallasites, as a rule, are pretty hardy folk. After all, we deal with summers here that last 6 months long and which routinely inflict temperatures on us of 105 degrees (40.6 C) or more. Such a thing is not for the faint of heart. And though the rest of the world doesn’t think we do, we actually look forward to winter. In winter, Dallas, for a few short months, becomes like “normal” parts of the world. The average temperature falls down into a range where people can go outside and engage in normal activities without the fear of dying from heat stroke or dehydration. In winter, there is an upsurge in the number of people one sees bicycling, jogging, walking dogs, picnicking, hot air ballooning, or just being outside and smiling. We even look forward to the occasional snow day. We love waking up and seeing everything blanketed in the white stuff. Every snow day feels like a holiday here and it fills people with elation and joie de vivre.
Unfortunately, Dallasites do not know how to drive in ice or snow. That isn’t because we are worse drivers than are found elsewhere. It’s just a lack of practice on our part, as well as not really having the proper equipment. We don’t have snow plows to clear the streets. We don’t have special snow tires, or snow chains. Hell, we barely keep ice scrapers in our vehicles! There just isn’t that big of a need for them.
But here is the secret I promised you. People in Dallas drive poorly in the snow and ice on purpose. I mean, if we suddenly became very proficient at driving in the snow … if a day of snow was no more debilitating than a day of light rain or sunshine … then the city would go on as normal on those rare days when we get an inch or two of snow. And that means we would not get to enjoy those rare days of snowfall we get but once or twice a year, because we would have to go to work or school just like we would on a “normal” day. And, after enduring 6 or more months of 100+ degree temperatures, we feel like we deserve a snow day once in awhile.
Everyone is in on the scam. Even the city governments and businesses. Even the TV meteorologists beg everyone to just stay home when it snows. That is why no one here invests in snow equipment. Cities don’t buy snow plows. We buy just enough salt and sand to keep the bridges from being death traps, but otherwise we just sort of throw up our hands, and like the bad actress who only got the role because she sleeps with the director, we say in our best tragic voice, “Oh dear! However will I get to work today? I’d better stay home in my pajamas and drink hot cocoa today.” [Stage direction: Place back of hand against forehead for dramatic effect. Collapse on fainting couch dramatically. Await smelling salts.]
So, please, feel free to ridicule us all you like about how a light dusting of snow shuts down the entire city. Hell, we even make fun of ourselves for that! We laugh at how incompetent we are at driving in snow. But just please don’t rat us out. I beg you, let us have this!
It’s all we’ve got.