People fascinate me. Groups of people are even more fascinating, especially when I start doing a comparison game and start contrasting the differences of various of folks against other people I have met along my life path.

Gosh, that sounds deep.

I grew up in the Lake Ontario snowbelt, that beautiful area of New York State situated along the eastern shores of the smallest of the Great Lakes. My hometown was located right between the lake and the Tug Hill Plateau, a precursor to the larger Adirondack Mountains to the northeast. Like our counterparts in the Lake Erie snowbelt (Buffalo and southwest), we usually get lots of snow in the winter. It’s what we do and there’s an impressive tourism trade built upon these winter storms. The mountains aren’t really big enough for impressive skiing (though there are ski resorts here and there), folks instead turn to cross-country skiing, snowmobiling and ice fishing. Fun times. I’ve had only one opportunity to take Earl on a snowmobile in the past 15 years and I don’t think he’s ever yelled as loud as he did when we went whizzing alongside the railroad tracks behind my dad’s house at around 40 MPH. (He swore we were doing 70 but I know we weren’t).

Ah, good times.

Because I grew up in the snow and around people that enjoy snow, I always find it interesting that folks in the areas that we work and live in now get a little hysterical when the National Weather Service blasts out a Winter Weather Advisory. I’ve mentioned before that I think these advisories are kind of ridiculous because I don’t think you should fire off the Emergency Alert System unless it’s something really important like a nuclear attack or a tsunami.

I know that it’s because of societal changes in attitude about snow that schools close a lot more than they used to in these parts when it came to winter weather. I can’t count the number of times that my sister and I would have to go running because the school bus was trying to stop at the end of our driveway and ended up in a skid. There was no crossing the road early when the bus came, you waited until everything got skidded and settled into place before venturing out. Mr. Curry, a dutiful bus driver, was always good to give us a wave to let us know when the bus was done skidding.

Ah, good times.

I don’t think of six inches of snow as a big deal. You plan a little extra time, you drive a little slower and you keep both hands on the steering wheel. It’s not that hard to deal with. Oh, never let your gas tank fall below a quarter of a tank because you don’t know how long it’s going to take to get to the next station. And make sure you have hat and gloves in the vehicle at all times.

Folks here in the more eastern part of the state (where I work) tend to get all nerved up when there’s snow in the forecast. Everyone talks about it, incessantly, and they start buying milk and bread in droves (lactose intolerance be damned.) I think I attribute this to what I call “downstate hysteria”. Folks from downstate New York (and especially New York and Long Island) tend to seem much more high strung than the folks upstate and this ‘snow concern’ adds a little bit of credibility to this observation. I think that’s why I’ve never had a serious thought about relocating to the Capital District (even though theoretically Earl and I could have at one time), it’s too unlike where I grew up for my comfort level. The accent is different, the attitude towards snow is different, it just doesn’t feel like the Empire State I know and love. And that’s perfectly fine, I’m not saying that one is better than the other, I’m just saying it’s different and that kind of fascinates me. Kind of like trying to identify where the soda/pop dividing line is (it’s somewhere between Syracuse and Rochester).

As I type this, I see that the snow is picking up. Rumor has it we are going to get six to ten inches of snow by tomorrow at home. I’m looking forward to it.

On the other hand, the person here in the plaza parking lot near work has parked across two parking spaces, at a diagonal, and is undoubtedly heading into Dollar Tree to clear the shelves of all available bread.

Ah, good times.

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