Aye, Captain…We Missed the Iceberg

3 January 2014

Buying in a food store before a snow storm does not put a shine on neighborly cooperation. It’s as if we are stocking a wagon train on the prairie for winter…I’ll take three deer carcasses, 50 chickens, a crib of corn, burlap bags of flour, some chewing tobacco, and a bale of hay for the cow…But then we’re not living on the prairie, where¬†food purveyors¬†were scarce..

In reality, towns now plow as soon as 2 inches of snow falls and keep at it until the snow stops. Rarely can’t you get out and drive within a couple of hours, giving stores enough time to plow their parking lots. But even before the snow, store shelves look like they’ve been looted, people grabbing six or eight frozen pizzas, gallons of orange juice, dozens of eggs…whole shelves of chips cleaned out. Desperation…who really needs kale/yogurt dip, but it’s gone. Bread…there is none…baguettes are gone…Italian loaves are gone…Chiabatta rolls, forget it…gone by the armsfull of those who got there first. Beer is gone like barrooms will be shuttered for a month.

Of course, the weather reports don’t help, stoking fear of a 100-year storm. Schools close before the first flake falls. Six-hundred dollar snow blowers fly out of Home Depot like lottery tickets. The only thing that sells better than bread are snow blowers…gotta have one…gotta be sure my 30 feet of sidewalk is cleaner than an Army recruit’s scalp after his first haircut.

And then there are the lines at gas stations. Fortunately we don’t have to scrimmage in Blockbuster anymore for the dregs of movie rentals. Streaming video is now part of the blizzard survival kit. And then there’s the bargaining. Hey, lemme have a couple of your ten loaves of Italian bread and I’ll give you a six-pack of beer. Okay? Now who can I trade for a kale/yogurt dip?

Surviving Armageddon inside the store is only the first challenge. The second is getting out of the parking lot to safety with the cool satisfaction of someone who has got what he needs, while other drivers are lined up, doing battle for spaces to get into the store and cull through what’s left…poor devils. And then there’s the crazed desperation of a woman. who suddenly realized that she forget milk and somehow thinks careening the wrong way down parking lot lanes, looking for a space that doesn’t exist is a justified response to the catastrophe of forgetting milk. A catastrophe reported on by either an avuncular or seductively curvaceous weather person, delivering us to disaster with smiles of schadenfreud. I’ve seen the future and it’s a disaster…ho, ho, ho.

Spring can’t come soon enough.