I don’t measure our snow, because…meh, I don’t need numbers. You reach a point where they’re not helpful…but here’s a sobering bit of numerical reflection. I just Googled Orchard Park’s average annual snowfall, and apparently it’s 114 inches, according to one site.

So, in the space of about 36 hours, we have received two-thirds of what we average for the entire year, in terms of snow.

Oof, indeed.

Luckily, we’re in good shape! I took the storm seriously as the forecasts started coming in. I loaded up on food and coffee and, yes, booze. We have power* and a comfortable house. We’re supposed to get another few inches overnight tonight as the weakening snow bands shift south again, and then this whole thing will be over sometime tomorrow. We’re forecast above freezing for the next bunch of days. Everything will be fine…eventually.

And that, combined with this from our County Executive, makes me think about something else:

There are problems in many streets and major roadways around here because people who insisted on attempting to drive someplace inevitably got stuck. Obviously this screws up all manner of important operations: plows, trucks moving the snow (when there’s this much, you really can’t just plow it to the side, it has to be trucked and dumped someplace), and the emergency vehicles that have to respond to calls. It’s not just people in regular cars; in advance of the storm, Governor Hochul closed major local expressways to commercial traffic, so now we have truckers getting stuck on major local boulevards as they attempt circumventing closed thruways. All of that can be partially chalked up to capitalism in some degree; we just can’t let business shut down for a day or two, can we?

But looking at County Executive Poloncarz’s tweet, I note his wording: “Please hunker down for a bit longer.”

This storm started in earnest around 8pm on Thursday night. It’s now Saturday morning as I write this, so we’ve been hunkered down for…not even two days yet.

So, my question is: Why do we as a society get cabin fever this quickly now? Is it “car culture” baked into our brains in 2022, where we get antsy to go out after just a few hours at home? Have we allowed our lives to become fast-paced to so great a degree that the very idea of spending a few days in our homes is somehow alien to us? I am by no means immune to this. I keep thinking, Wow, I really gotta suit up and get our cars dug out! I gotta get out there! And then I remind myself, Why? There’s no place that we have to be. We’re not even allowed to drive right now anyway. We have everything we need, right here, and we can go days without running into a NEED that has to be addressed. We’re good. Just take turns shoveling for a few minutes at a time, and meanwhile, just sit and be warm. Why own a personal library, if not in part for days like this!

So yeah, we really do need to do better as a society at living–really, actually living–in our own homes. We need to make our homes into less of a “base of operations” for our lives and more into actual homes. A home should not be a place where we find ourselves not wanting to be after just a short while. At least, that’s not what it seems to me a home should be.

* Oh, I didn’t mention that we lost power for about five hours yesterday morning! That sucked. Apparently a transformer at our local substation blew. Luckily, the NYSEG folks were almost dead accurate in their estimated restoration time: they forecasted power to come back on about 1pm, and it did, at 12:53pm. Nice. Our backup sump pump kept up just fine (though some work is needed in that department; more on that another time). It was fine, really…but a power outage on top of being in the middle of an epic snowstorm was more use of my brain-cycles than I really wanted to expend yesterday. When I finally crashed last night, around 10pm after my bedtime reading of about a page and a half, I crashed hard. Anyway, life marches on!

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2 Responses to Seventy-seven

  1. Roger says:

    Interesting questions. I would have thought we would have been able to apply some lessons from COVID. You ain’t goingnowhere; let’s play some board games, or read, or write (if you have enough light) If we got 38.5 inches of snow, and we had power, I could be fine for a week. (Except for the fact we need to get our daughter for Thanksgiving…)

  2. drupp says:

    On the Twitter image, it’s all 7s :-). I hope the melting doesn’t take 7 days. For what it’s worth, I have the Virtual Fireplace (which you featured a few days ago) running full blast and channeling the heat your way.

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