Day 7 – Regional Affective Disorder

Day 7 – Regional Affective Disorder

The entire Eastern Seaboard of the United States is allergic to snow. I have come to this conclusion through a unique method I invented called: Anecdotal “M” State Surveys.

My friend Robin once explained the difference between how people from her home state of Michigan and people from her adopted state of Massachusetts encounter the winter.

“In Michigan when it snows, it’s an excuse not to go to school, to play in the snow for hours until you can’t feel your hands, come inside, make hot chocolate, and snuggle on the couch with your family members while you re-watch old movies. In Boston it’s an excuse TO BE MAD ALL WINTER LONG.”

Indeed, there seems to be a regional affective disorder that disproportionately effects East Coasters in the face of the always shocking and ever appalling…umm…snow in the winter.

If you come to the east coast and you wish to abide by the cultural norms, prepare for the following traditions:

  • Rush the bread and dairy aisle. By 5 loaves, 7 gallons, and pray for salvation.
  • Post frequently on school system social media sites. Critique the authorities for letting out school too early, too late, blame them for any child that falls or car that crashes. USE CAPS WHENEVER NECESSARY TO GET YOUR POINT ACROSS.
  • Accept the dents in your paint job or dings in your windshield tha come with the pre-salting of the roads every hour on the hour. You know they’ve done it enough if after the storm the roads maintain a shoulder of salt.
  • Stockpile plastic lawn furniture or paint buckets. You will use these to save the parking spot you will dig your car out of.

All of these traditions can be very puzzling to those west of, say…the I-95 corridor. Midwesterners, seem to relish the opportunities for back breaking collaborative labor the snow brings. For a study in this regional phenomenon, try one of my favorite poems, “Ode to the Midwest.”

I spent 18 years in Missouri and 4 years of undergrad in Minnesota before coming to Maryland (my third “M” state). In Minnesota, there is snow on the roads from November to April…but you adapt. I adapted by accepting that every time I went outside my nose hairs would freeze. My 1990 Nissan Sentra Eleanor adapted by rocking some sweet snow tires.

In Montana, where my friend Mikey, a Maryland Native, now works for the park service, they simply don’t believe his accounts of East Coast fastidiousness. “You mean to tell me they plow every road in the state?” Upon his confirmation, they ask again. “EVERY ROAD?!”

On my block in the middle of Baltimore City, there seems to be a Mid-West meets Mid-Atlantic temperate zone. Enough folks from rural Pennsylvania and upstate New York to balance out the hyper-allergenic Easterners. The resulting cultural blend produced one of the best weeks I ever spent in Baltimore:

During Snowmageddon of 2010. Our block, like so many others, remained unplowed for nearly a week. On day three folks built a “Snow-fa” at the top of the block where they drank hot chocolate, snuggled together, watched Slapshot and heckled passing snow plows. By day five, we stopped waiting for rescue, came out with our shovels, and fashioned a conveyor belt out of a blue tarp, clearing the snow in an hour.

As with any allergen, slow exposure can temper anaphylaxis. So grab some hot chocolate and a snuggle buddy. The cure is at hand.

You'll feel better in a minute...
Hot Chocolate for what ails ya…
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