The president and I seem to have something in common: We are both having difficulty fathoming why D.C. gets so worked up over a little wintry weather. As I write this, my home state of New Hampshire is preparing to receive a common snowstorm of about 10 inches of snow. A half-inch of snow plus a little freezing rain, like we had last week, certainly can be messy, but for me it’s nothing to write home about and it’s definitely not delay-worthy.
When the first snow (I use that word liberally) of the season hit D.C., I was overjoyed about having a little taste of the weather I left back home. I eagerly donned a hearty sweater and L.L. Bean boots and bounded outside only to be met by a befuddled and grumpy looking populace, outfitted with umbrellas and Antarctic parkas. Never in my years have I seen anyone respond to snowfall with a standard-issue umbrella. This was novel for me. Umbrellas are for rain, not snow. What were people thinking; didn’t they know how to handle a little bit of snow?
Here are some fun facts to try out at the dinner table tonight. The District Department of Transportation stores roughly 39,000 tons of road salt to combat Mother Nature on D.C.’s 1,100 miles of roadway. Yet, my home city of Manchester, N.H., only stores about 3,000 tons of salt at a time for 560 miles of roadway. I’m not a mathematics major, but I don’t think those ratios are anywhere near equal. Thirty-nine thousand tons is a lot of anything, never mind salt. The District seems to need all that salt though because every time the mercury drops below freezing the standard response is to throw salt in nature’s face. I never thought to combat nature with so much pure salt. Instead, we like to go plowing in New Hampshire. In fact it’s a pastime.
To a New Hampshirian like me, I’ve found the response to inclement weather highly interesting, even borderline amusing. The response is vastly different from a situation with which I am all too familiar. I’ve been through more storms and blizzards than I can even begin to count. I’ve even been literally snowed into my house for a couple of days by feet of snow, with nowhere to go and nothing to do except shovel. Bad weather can be a pain, but it’s not that big of a deal for me.
However, I’ve come to realize that there are many, especially around here, who have never had the pleasure of experiencing New England weather. Many can’t even fathom it, in the same way I can’t begin to imagine what being in a hurricane or an earthquake would be like. Yet, I chose Washington for a reason and obviously it wasn’t for the skiing.
I wanted to get away from my insulated world (it has to be, it’s cold in New Hampshire). I’ve had the pleasure at GW of meeting people from all over the world, not just this country. I’ve gotten to tell them about the great state of New Hampshire and the moose at the end of my street and in return I’ve gotten to hear their stories. Their stories have been one of the greatest parts about being away from home and at GW. Everyone has a different take and approach to the same situation, shaped by their backgrounds.
And for all those that hate this “bad weather,” you’ll have your revenge come the summer, when I’ll be the odd man out. Heat and humidity are what make me an unhappy camper.
The writer is a freshman majoring in international affairs.