”BREAKING: Midwest braces for boring conversations about the weather.” – Andy Borowitz
Alright, in the last couple of days, there has been plenty new words in the midwestern weather vocabulary: Snowtorious (by Baratunde), Snowpocalypse, thundersnow, snowmageddon, and my favourite: snOMG. All of them have pointed at the horrible snow storm the likes of which our area hasn’t seen since 1981/2. Sounds like the government of Hosni Mubarak, right?
The news of the snow apocalypse that had school closed for two days straight (for the first time in years) had students, staff and residents rushing to buy house supplies: helmets, battery-powered flashlights, food, drinks, lighters, radio etc. When I got to the store to buy groceries yesterday, I found out that all the milk had gone out of circulation. There was none at all to buy. When it comes to panic buying, it seems that my current countrymen are the champs.
Now, at 2.45am on the day billed to be the scariest of the three days the terribly disnowbedient weather, there is no storm, no falling trees and sparkling electric wires, no raging alarms making us head for the basements and bath tubs covered with large matresses. No need for flashlights either. Just bloody snow and icy rain on the ground, and a thoroughly rested populace very glad to get two good days off. It is not all good. My classes take place on Mondays and Tuesdays, so I effectively have the whole week free of classwork, and that sucks. I’m beginning to think that this ruse was sponsored by Walmart and other shoppers so that we can all rush and buy things we don’t need for a weather we can’t handle.
I had made preparations for a different scenario anyway. In the event that power goes completely off and our phones run off that we can’t communicate with one another, and the heaters run out of steam such that we can’t even sleep without having to lay down together like pickles in a jar, and all hell break lose such that trees fall, and all we have are ourselves against the elements. I figured that it might become a perfectly opportune time to start returning to the basic natures of our humanity: hunting. I had already started making a long list of recipes that can do with some deer and geese meat. When roasted on an open fire made out of fallen trees, and set in public in front of the lake and surrounded by scores of homeless students and residents – add a few bottles of beer or wine bought from the panic rush of the previous days – the fact of hunger and depression will disappear from the world even for a few hours, and all that would remain would be glee, and a certain kind of happiness hard to describe and impossible to forget.
Back to the reality of the present, there is no snowstorm around here. The closest storm we have is in Cairo where protesters have decided that Hosni Mubarak’s televised announcement of intention to leave government in September comes too late and gives too little. That storm is purposeful, unpredictable, and has defied all predictions. Here, citzens that have not been used to more than a few hours of interrupted electricity think that the world has come to an end if something like that should ever happen without notice. Life is good. No snowstorms. All we have are new words, and that one in the title of this post is one of them: mine.