I have lived in Atlanta for the past 10 years. In these 10 years, I have experienced the worst drought of the Southeast ever; the 100 Year Flood; the hottest summer on record; and the coldest winter on record. But, nothing compares to what I just lived through, and thankfully, survived: Snowmageddon 2014. The Snowpocalypse.
By now you have heard all about it – especially if you live in the North, because you are undoubtedly still making fun of the city of Atlanta for its traffic debauchery as a result of two inches of snow. Two inches. Yup, that is not a typo. Two inches of snow created a scene that is akin to something out of a movie depicting the end of the world. Yes, people were stuck in their cars for hours without food, water or heat. Yes, people walked along icy highways to get to their children who were trapped in school gymnasiums. Yes, schools were closed for two days and people were afraid to leave their homes because they might slip on the ice walking down their driveways. Tragic.
But, I want to tell you about my own tragic experience – my struggle and the sacrifices that I had to make to survive these two horrifying days.
I ran out of flavored coffee creamer.
It’s true. I was forced to endure drinking coffee with plain cream and sugar, instead of my beloved peppermint mocha because I was not prepared for the entire city of Atlanta to be shut down to the point of where I could not even use my four-wheel-drive Honda CR-V to get to the Kroger that is just 1.6 miles from my house. Not because my four-wheel-drive vehicle couldn’t make it, but because Kroger, like all the other stores in a 90 mile radius, were closed. For two days.
On day two of Snowmageddon, in an attempt to put an end to my suffering, I ventured out to a local coffee shop.
The roads were no longer ice-covered and it was sunny and 27 degrees. The coffee shop was closed. It appeared to be abandoned, actually. When I texted my friend to let him know not to meet me there, he replied, “Yeah, I figured they might be closed. The people who own it look like an artsy couple from Decatur. I’m sure they were afraid to leave their home and venture OTP just to open the coffee shop in Snellville.”
[OTP is local vernacular for “Outside the Perimeter” which is where I live; which is like driving to Siberia for Atlantans who live ITP (Inside the Perimeter). The distance between Decatur and the coffee shop is less than 13 miles. Just sayin’.]
“Go buy bread and milk!” Seriously?
For the last 10 years that I have lived here, each time the forecast calls for a possible flurry, I have been urgently advised by my fellow Southerners to “go buy bread and milk” before the storm. Really? Why? So I can eat like a convict in the local jail while I am stuck at home during a “snowstorm”?
I am from Upstate New York where the average snowfall is more than 100 inches per season, and locals make bets as to whether it will exceed 200 inches between October and January.
We are hearty folks. We own sub-zero rated waterproof boots, jackets, gloves, snow pants and snowmobiles. When we hear the forecast for a blizzard, it means we are going to get one-to-two feet of snow in the next 30 minutes.
To prepare, we do not buy bread and milk. We stock up on beer, potato chips and peppermint schnapps.
We build fires in our fireplaces and invite our friends over for a blizzard party. We dress our kids up in snowsuits and send ‘em outside to go sledding for several hours at a time, even at night. When they return, we wipe their runny noses, serve them hot chocolate, and listen to stories of how they “built this huge jump and flew over it on the sled” while their wet mittens dry in front of the fireplace.
I love living in the South, but I must say, I am with the Northerners when it comes to making fun of us because a mere two inches of snow caused widespread panic and shut down a city of almost six million people – four million of whom were simultaneously driving on I-285 like chickens on crack – when the “blizzard” struck.
Next time I hear a forecast for flurries, I am bolting to Kroger to stock up on peppermint mocha coffee creamer. And wine – grocery stores in Atlanta sell wine! – so I am properly prepared to wait it out until life in the South resumes its usual easygoing, snow-free pace.