Thursday, January 18, 2007

If you live somewhere with actual seasons you may want to look away

Good morning.

I got up at 6am, as usual, only to discover that the children's school is opening late (2 hour delay) due to - and I'm not kidding here - anticipated inclement weather.

I have not been to any grocery store in the last 24 hours, but I would wager that every single one of them is out of bread, milk, and eggs.

It is always bread, milk, and eggs.

During my first winter in Columbia, I witnessed a hoard of senior citizens actually fist fighting over a loaf of bread. Chunks of velour and shredded appliqu├ęs flying through the air, it was horrible and terrible and utterly entrancing. All I could do was stand there, bug-eyed and slack jawed, wondering what in the bloody hell kind of poor planning would drive an evil mastermind to decide on Columbia, South Carolina, of all places. So maybe not a mastermind... but it could be the local news team and their Super Mega Quadruple Superior Incredo Doppler?! Where the rest of us might simply see the well-coiffed and lip-glossed newscaster delivery of any sort of winter weather being on its way, every other person in the greater Columbia area over the age of 50 receives a some kind of super-secret economy-boosting word-with-hyphens(!) tv mindwave beamed directly to the centers of their nervous systems?

I can't be sure. I'm still in my thirties. All I know is what I see, and what I saw, and what I seesaw iswas that these people rise up from their comfortable easy chairs, they hop up off of that gardening knee-pad, they put down that plate of okra and fried bologna, they leave their homes and their bingo games and they swarm the nearest grocery store. If that grocery store has already fallen, they move on to the next, and if that store has fallen, they move on yet again. No grocery store is safe. These people will brave every hardship, face any weather, drive over animals and children and monster-truck right on over any auto smaller than their Cadillac to get those three staples which will most assuredly get them through any anticipated inclement weather.

Once these food ideals are in their possessions they will go home and they will stay there. Half an inch of snow on the shoulder of the dry road and the city becomes a veritable ghost town.

You'll drive four miles in freezing rain to get bread, milk, and eggs, but it's too dangerous to drive next to snow? Yes, with bread, milk, and eggs, we can do anything... that is, until the power goes out and 2/3 of our prizes begin to rot.

Until then, though, we can do anything!