Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Weakest Generation

Today is a "snow day." (My teenage daughter rejoices.)

On a snow day, school is called off because of treacherous road conditions. This is the first one in recent memory.

We have maybe three inches of snow on the ground; there may be places around town where four inches have accumulated, but not much more than that.

Traffic has been paralyzed. Hundreds of accidents, slide-offs, etc. A local talk radio station polled the listening audience: "Should the highway district plow the roads?" (They've never plowed the roads in the past, other than a few particularly-steep roads, etc.) 100% percent of the respondents said, YES, they should plow the roads.


I'll go into crotchety-old-grandpa mode now... but what I say is the truth, at least as I perceive it.

I clearly remember going (walking, mostly) to school when there was 6 or more inches of snow on the ground... right here in Boise, Idaho. I don't remember even a single "snow day" in my elementary/secondary school years. Nowadays the Little Dumplings can't walk ANYWHERE, even on sunshiny perfect Kodachrome days! (Yeah... I'm just jealous.)

There weren't nearly as many cars - or roads - back in those days. I can't recall plowing/sanding practices. We lived on a hill north of town; I can remember Mom being concerned that somebody might cause her to stop on the drive up, on slippery days. If that happened, it was back down to the bottom and get another run at it and try again.

Nowadays people have remote-control car starters, so they won't have to suffer immeasurably in an un-heated car! (The $3 gas burned during warm-up time doesn't count against EPA mileage figures.) Many of those cars also have heated seats or steering wheels.

IMO, our insatiable pursuit of comfort and convenience has had a detrimental effect on us as a society. We can no longer tolerate interruptions to our life of ease. We've come a long way since the "greatest generation" of 50 or 60 years ago.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for putting this in words. We had the same conversation this morning in the office.

Anonymous said...

In McCall, if there was more than 8" of snow you were allowed to be tardy for the first 2 or 3 periods in High School.

The only time we had a snow day was when the wind would blow and create drifts.

Bikeboy said...

Peter is a work-colleague in our Billerica, MA office. (50 miles or so north of Boston.) I told him it was a 3-inch "snow day," and he was quite befuddled.

(I s'pose it could be argued that people in McCall or Billerica are more accustomed to dealing with snow than us banana-belt flat-landers, but still... 3 INCHES??)