Friday, January 15, 2010

Snow Flakes

You have to love Baltimore, where there is a well-known law commanding television meteorologists to use the term “the white stuff” in place of the word “snow” at least once per forecast from November through July. We love white stuff here – love to fret about it, stock up on bread, milk and toilet paper in anticipation of it, and shovel it off the driveway so that we can not drive anywhere in it. Folks living in town houses and other areas with limited parking have their own little thing goin’ on: they shovel out their parking spot and then, like a sodbuster staking a claim in the old West, they demarcate that spot for the SceniCruiser with chaise longues, upended trash cans, or even sometimes saw horses. People from out of town say they’ve never seen such, but there’s a lot you ain’t seen til you’ve been to B’more, hon!

The snow they were calling for this Sunday has been taken off the forecast, replaced by dumb old rain and sleet. What could make for a better weekend at the Try ‘N’ Shop supermarket than the twin marketing opportunities of a Ravens playoff game against the stinky Indianapolis Colts, who once called this town home before slinking out of town like a two-bit floozy leaving with a traveling dry goods salesman from Kankakee following a lusty second-rate unsanctified congress in a third-rate motel along the lost highway, PLUS a snowfall predicted for the next morning?!

But really, the white stuff we just can’t get enough of is salt. Rock salt. Halite. It’s so thick on some parking lots that it looks like snow, but seasoned (pause for laughter) pedestrians know the difference between the crunch of salt under their Weejuns and the crunch of snow. Snow goes away, and salt stays until it rains, at which point it gets dumped into the bay through the tributary storm drain system and we get nice salty oysters and pre-seasoned blue crabs. We don’t care. We know there is plenty of salt left in the curiously-constructed salt domes along the highways in the salty side of town. Hang the expense! If it’s a–gonna snow, we want the roads to be “pre-treated,” a handy way to say, “putting salt down even before it starts to snow.” Then come back while it snows, and after it snows, and salt everything down ‘til all the world looks like a snow globe or a big pretzel or a salt lick. It must be what we want; heaven forbid we should drive on a road with any snow on it! All motorists foolish enough to do so slide off the edge of the earth, never to be heard from again!

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