Armageddon has arrived!

Irony is, tomorrow we’ll awaken to read all about it in the newspapers.

In Pacific Northwest speak, armageddon equals an inch or two of snow.

But wait! What of last month’s predicted doomsday?! The couple inches that brought the entire city and Seattle corridor to its collective knees, triggering oodles of collisions for drivers won’t grasp the fundamental concepts that flakes and/or ice means slow way down and increase distance in addition to “forcing”drivers to abandon vehicles not only on the shoulders but interstate itself!

Wasn’t the world supposed to come to a crashing end with that storm?

And the one before that one? And before that?

How many times can Washington’s Puget Sound meet its demise and yet survive and awaken to a new day?

Ad infinitum evidently.

Not even a whiff of a breeze can pass through this area without the media morphing it into a gale of devastating consequences.

So my question is: When and why did we become such wimps that a couple inches of snow is cause for massive alarm? Don’t bother answering, it’s rhetorical and I know why.

The favored cited reason why western Washingtonians can’t drive in the snow or ice is: “We’re not used to it.” What. A. Crock! Were driving skills directly proportional to exposure to climate conditions, why, drivers here would be veritable Mario Andretti whizzes in the rain.

But they’re not. On the contrary, they’re hideously unskilled in showers. And snow, sleet or sun. Fact is, what ails western Washington drivers isn’t familiarity or unfamiliarity with weather conditions, it’s their attitude. They travel about with an arrogance and invincibility of self-centeredness surpassing any I’ve observed anywhere — and I’ve been to plenty of anywheres!

So I don’t buy the “we’re not used to it” explanation. It’s an excuse for shitty driving.

See, it boils down to this: Good driving skills go wherever you go. Good driving is maybe 1/4 to 1/3 experience and the remainder is common sense, intelligence, reason and awareness. Deficits in practical experience are overcome by application of those qualities coupled with the adaptability and fortitude to negotiate unfamiliar terrain.

… The same traits and attitude that were exhibited by the pioneers and pushed them forward as survivalists. Drivers in their time who did not sit on the ground and cry “wah wah wah, we can’t do it” when the going got tough, when a wagon wheel fractured or snow fell. (And in quantities greater than those being seen in western Washington and elsewhere.)

Weather wimps (collective) we are! And the media merely fan the wimp flames with overdramatized panic and warnings that armageddon has arrived.


Them’s my thoughts on the matter. Your mileage may vary.


10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sharky
    Jan 12, 2011 @ 01:31:33

    Honestly, I think it’s only because people love to say the word “Snowpocalypse.”


  2. Doug
    Jan 12, 2011 @ 03:06:00

    I’ve driven all over North America, and the worst drivers are always where I am. What does that say about me?

    I think lack of driving skill is primarily lack of patience. Driving for conditions is not so hard, really, once you accept that its going to take a little longer today. But Mr. Whiz Bang in his behemoth SUV doesn’t slow down for anybody…


    • allycatadventures
      Jan 12, 2011 @ 04:18:12

      @Doug – “But Mr. Whiz Bang in his behemoth SUV doesn’t slow down for anybody …” – Ain’t that the truth! (And no shortage of SUVs here, which is, again, quite the irony since the locals are constantly touting their superior green attitudes and lifestyles!) Lack of patience is certainly a contributor to poor driving. I’ve traveled this side of the country extensively and must say I’ve observed discernible driving differences between states and in some cases areas within states. At any rate, when I finally do depart, I’ll be doing so with glee and that certain gesture so widely recognized on the roads, lol.


  3. longeyesamurai
    Jan 12, 2011 @ 04:09:22

    Hope this message finds you well and that the city has not befallen to anarchy and cannibalism. 🙂

    It’s like the old saying: “We only remember the LAST flood” or snow, in that context…


  4. Invictus
    Jan 12, 2011 @ 09:30:12

    “Vegetarians and vegans all about, you know.” Until the food runs low, and then meat’s back in style.

    You’re the second person in as many days I’ve heard or read make reference about modern character being lacking in comparison to the pioneers, and it strikes me as funny. I agree that people seem to be a bunch of whiny, self-indulgent assholes lately, but I don’t think the historical comparison holds up because a) our perception of the pioneers is heavily romanticized, to put it mildly, b) in all my historical reading, I’ve never seen anything that convinced me people in the past were fundamentally different than today and c) a lot of the positive character traits we associate with the pioneers, and just about any historical group, were reflections of their environment. Modern life is nowhere near as hard as just about any time that came before it — for example, we’re lucky enough to live in the less than 1% of human history that has had antibiotics — and those qualities so many openly revere in the pioneers were absolutely necessary to survive. If comparably tough times were to descend on the modern world, many wouldn’t be able to hack it…but many would, and some would thrive and flourish, after finding those qualities within themselves. Some people don’t know who they are until they starve. Anyway, sorry to go on, but it’s something I’ve been thinking about for some time, and it’s much more fun than doing my friggin’ project (grumble, grumble).


    • allycatadventures
      Jan 12, 2011 @ 14:24:31

      @B – Yeah, between ice and corpses in the Andes, corpses win. You make salient points and I agree for the most part. Where I depart is in modern response to environmental hardships and challenges, including threats to survival. The mettle, perseverance, resourcefulness and work ethics displayed by the pioneers as they trod or simply met the challenges to survive another day are on record.

      I agree that most (on the North American/Western continents) don’t know who they are until they starve (to that I’d add other extreme and lasting darknesses). Where I observe a change in character to environmental challenges is, oh, for first example New Orleans residents post-Katrina on rooftops refusing self-help and waiting for government rescue. Or closer to home and on a smaller scale but still telling the plethora of drivers abandoning vehicles on the highway in a (mere) few inches of snow.

      There are incidences of course of people rising to any occasion of hardship and crisis (love the show “I Shouldn’t Be Alive”) and just as many who expect others to do it for them. And if that many are easily defeated by some flakes (a phenomenon not limited to Puget Sound), who’s to say they’d be any help in character along the rutted road; it’s not an encouraging indication or reflection of resilience.

      BTW, my take on change in character is specific to America; I see in other countries/cultures a pioneering character that’s alive and well. We won’t complicate the discussion with that.

      Anyhow, my response is poorly articulated; the brain is muggy after a particularly restless night of insomnia so perhaps I’ll revisit later. Meanwhile, I’ll continue pondering this interesting topic.

      And oh yeah, glad I could be of service in your procrastination in that friggin’ project.


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