Saturday, January 26, 2013

Beginning to look like winter

When I got into my car and began driving Friday morning, I had an "experience" I hadn't felt in quite a while.

I tried making a left turn, only to find that I was out of control of my vehicle. I was slipping and sliding on the snow.

I'D LIKE TO think my driver education teacher of some three decades ago would have been pleased to see my reaction -- I took my foot off the gas pedal and kept my hands firmly on the steering wheel.

All the while trying to turn against the direction the car was sliding in, until I was finally able to straighten myself out. The whole thing took a few seconds, I didn't hit anything (or anyone) and I felt like I was in control of my car even though -- technically speaking -- I wasn't.

My point in reciting this moment from my life isn't that I'm one of these people who thinks the whole world ought to be obsessed with my life's every minute happening.

It's just that I can't remember the last time I slid on snow. Which means it was actually snowing.

ALL OF THOSE snowplows were out, public works crews of every sort were busy. Those stockpiles of salt were put to work.

Because early Friday, for the first time in 335 days, we got a measurable amount of snow -- 1.1 inches, according to the National Weather Service types based at O'Hare International Airport.

Heck, even the lovely ladies of The Weather Channel were astounded Friday morning to see actual snow in Chicago. We haven't had a measureable amount of the white, fluffy stuff since last February.

We definitely didn't have a "white" Christmas. All we've had are light traces that barely lasted a few hours, let alone the entire cycle of a day.

A PART OF me has been feeling paranoid because of the lack of snow this winter. This is the Great Midwest. It's supposed to snow.

WGN-TV's renowned meteorologist Tom Skilling told the Chicago Tribune that we'd have 18 inches of the fluffy (or sometimes slushy) stuff by this point in winter.

It all makes me wonder if we're going to get whalloped with a monster storm later this winter season that will do massive devastation to Chicago.

Maybe something along the lines of that Feb. 2, 2011 storm that dumped a foot of snow on us in a 24-hour period. Or perhaps worse, something that would make the story seem like gentle kisses on a cool, spring day.

I'D LIKE TO think the fact that we got hit with a noticeable snowstorm somehow lessens the chance we're going to suffer come February or early March.

I can handle my car sliding about a bit now. It's the way things are supposed to be this time of year. What we have experienced in recent weeks has been downright unnatural.

Heck, I haven't even minded the sub-freezing temperatures of recent days just because I realize if I had to have a mild winter, I'd give serious thought to relocating myself to Florida.

Where at least I could be on hand for the March ritual of baseball spring training -- which will be combined this year with the playing of the World Baseball Classic tournament.

COME EARLY MARCH, I likely will be intrigued by the performances of potential powerhouse teams from Cuba and the Dominican Republic, wondering how Mexico's national team will fare, seeing if the United States can finally prevail in the game invented here -- and wondering above all if anyone can defeat Japan (winners of the tournament the two times it has been played).

The last thing I'm going to want is to wish I were in Puerto Rico or Arizona -- all on account of being snowed in here in Chicago.


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