Hey N.E., how about we stop misusing the words emergency and storm?
I also don't consider running out or running low on road salt to be an emergency. How about we try gravel or sand? I've spent the majority of my life in North Dakota where the average snowfall over a 30 to 40-day period is 50 inches (that's just in my hometown of Bismarck and in Fargo, where I lived for several years), which is on par for what Boston has gotten this winter. Bismarck and Fargo use sand and gravel on their roads, not salt. Coincidently, they have better and smoother roads, weird. I'm not even going to delve into temperature other than to say that I experienced an entire month of below zero temperatures in Fargo.
At the same time, I understand the felt need for salt in New England. There's more traffic, cars, and people in Boston. But if you live and drive somewhere where it snows, then don't you think you should know how to drive in snow? There are even some measures you can take, like snow tires; they even make the studded kind. We also live in the days of anti-lock brakes, something I didn't have when I was 17 and driving in the snow for the first time. And guess what, I made it through a winter in North Dakota without smashing into anyone because I was careful when I drove in the snow.
So let's consider a little perspective here. Yes, Boston has gotten a crap ton of snow this year. Yes, we're all sick of it. But, Boston just happens to be in an area of the United States that gets snow and is capable of getting a crap ton of snow. Plus, we've been a bit spoiled the past two winters with little to no snow. Does anyone remember the winter of 2010? It was my first winter in Boston and I thought I had moved somewhere with less snow fall than Fargo when in fact the snowbanks in my neighborhood reminded me of Fargo.
Like the misuse of the word emergency, I also don't understand why the weathermen and the news in general insist on calling every instance of snow a snowstorm. Most of the time that it has snowed this winter, it seems to be just that, snowing. I don't know the technical guidelines for what constitutes a storm, but I imagine there has to be kind of relationship between snowfall and accumulation, temperature, and wind. (Side note: I guess my assumption was a bit sophisticated. When I went to actually look this up, I mostly found dictionary definitions, which aren't very specific. Some say heavy snowfall and some include wind in the definition.) All this sensationalizing of every instance of snow seems to be some kind of marketing ploy. One is led to think she must scramble to the grocery store and stock up because she could be stuck in her house for days. Really? When was the last time you were trapped in your house, like legitimately unable to leave? I grew up in North Dakota and being snowed into your house was more of celebration than reason to be scared. I remember one snow day going to my grandma's house and jumping off the roof of her rambler-style house into snow banks. That's how much snow there was. It was safe for my cousins and I to jump from the roof into the snow.
I'm not trying to discount the fact that snow and ice can be hazardous. We all know that, so be careful and be prepared. I'd also like to give a big kudos to the cities of Boston, Somerville, and Cambridge. I think they've done a pretty kick-ass job of keeping the roads clear. I think they over-salt the roads, but I appreciate the 'round the clock work of the plows to clear the snow.
Finally, here's where running comes in. There's a lot of snow on the ground. I have yet to run on the treadmill this winter. It's not a point of pride; I just hate treadmills that much. Snow, wind, sub-zero temps, I don't care. I would rather run outside. The sidewalks have been tricky more than once, and sometimes my runs are more of a lesson in footwork than speed or endurance. I've said in the past that I could go the rest of my life without seeing snow and not miss it. To some extent I still believe that; that's what over 20 years in North Dakota will do to a person. But, I've also fallen in love with snow all over again this winter, thanks to the November Project, which has me playing in the snow at least two days a week. What will we do when it all melts?