For days the weather channel was calling out warnings.
Severe weather advisories, Winter storm warnings, you name it. If it involved cold and/or snow we had an advisory of some sort for it.
Maps were displayed with colored bands of angry pinks and purples showing just how bad it was going to be.
Schools and a few businesses were pre-emptively closed, after school activities cancelled.
People were warned to avoid driving if they possibly could, as the roads were projected to be kind of slippery and such. Go figure, they would get slick when covered with frozen water. This stuff has a reputation for slipperiness, but I digress.
People ran hither and yon and they prepared for this mighty storm.
Gasoline was bought by many, even though there were lines at the pumps. Hell, even I got in on that one. I needed gas for the snow blower and the car was on a quarter tank, so i waited in line and filled them both up.
People hunkered down and planned to ride out this vicious storm.
The were prepared.
Well, some of them were.
The snow started falling before I went to bed last Wednesday.
The light fluffy powder fell slowly from the sky on a dead still night. The clean crisp lines of all man made things were smoothed out. Even the harshness of the skeleton-like branches of the leafless trees was softened by the blanket of white. In short it was beautiful to see.
By the time I awoke and headed to work we had perhaps and inch or two.
Nothing to write home about, not even enough to bother with the snow blower for. Just enough to know I will have to shovel when I get home. Another chore to add to the list, nothing more. This is Wisconsin after all, I have seen snow on occasion.
I thought it was a day like any other. I would do a few errands on the way home from work, and then have a nice evening at home with my family. I forgot something important however.
Something of earth shaking importance.
On the History Channel it just so happens to be Armageddon week.
A full week of shows devoted to nothing less than predicting just how the world will come unglued when civilization crumbles. Not if, but when… and apparently it could happen tomorrow.
The even had a few shows sprinkled in on how to survive the coming apocalypse. Shows where I personally think following the half of the advice given would result in the untimely demise of yourself and anyone you might be trying to survive with, but I digress again.
Apparently every overly impressionable idiot in my town was watching both channels using the miracle of picture in picture. Or perhaps they just pulled a second TV in from the bedroom to watch them both at once.
However they did it they managed to get their signals crossed as to which one was actual reality. I say this because I ran into these idiots as I tried to get home.
I was stopping at the grocery to pick up a few odds and ends for dinner, these yahoos were gearing up for the snowpocalypse.
Apparently they thought that this particular snow storm was going to signal the end of the world or something.
Thats silly, everyone knows the world is perfectly safe until December 21st, 2012.
Honestly, thats when it’s all going to be over. It has to be true, I saw it on the History Channel.
Please hold your panic for another 23 months.
Oh, and if your in the neighborhood make sure to look me up. It’s on a Friday, and I plan to have and “end of the world” party that weekend. Oh my, I’m digressing again aren’t I.
Oops, back to my tale.
My first clue that something was amiss should have been seeing the parking lot at the local grocery store.
I stop pretty regularly as it is on the way home from work, and I rarely see more than 15-20 cars in the parking lot. Then again I am stopping by just after noon on weekdays, not exactly rush hour.
The lot was full.
Like, walk a block and a half just to get to the doors full.
I pondered this turn of events as I walked into the store. Thats when I ran across the first two idiots that kind of set the pace for the whole trip.
Two grown men stood just inside the entrance facing off over what appeared to be a white plastic bag of rock salt. Fingers were pointed, voices were raised, and dire threats were issued. A store employee arrived at about that time and attempted to calm the two morons down.
Like a two person pack of wolves they commenced a detailed breakdown of the poor employees competence in his job. The must have known him quite well to have the kind of information about his parents, social skills, and sexual preferences.
Either that or they were simply being complete asshats. Somehow I think thats more likely.
Moments after I saw the employee walk up to them they suddenly went silent. Staring right past the hapless clerk at the figure that had just rounded the corner. I don’t know whether it was his badge, his gun, or simply his really disapproving look that shut them up.
All I know is they quit arguing over the last bag of rock salt and I continued on my way, confident that at very least I would have something to blog about now.
Wandering further into the store I fairly quickly picked up the few things that we needed. A roast, a bag of potatoes to go with said roast, and a few other odds and ends.
As I pass through heading to the front I see cart after cart waiting in line. Dozens of people all trying to check out at once. What do I notice as I stand there waiting my turn?
Probably a good two thirds of the people there had a cart full of officially sanctioned emergency supplies. Cases of water, tons of canned goods, sacks of rice and beans. There were packages of lighters and cans of sterno, trail mixes and candles.
In short, it looked like people were preparing for a siege, or perhaps a hurricane.
No, wait a minute. Hurricanes require plywood.
I waited for the twilight zone music to start playing in the background as I payed for my few things. when I headed out to the parking lot I almost expected Mad Max to meet me at the door demanding my gasoline.
Speaking of gasoline that was my next adventure.
After leaving the surreal grocery store I headed just a bit down the road from my house to the local gas station. Once again, I did not need much. Gas for the car since it was sitting at a quarter tank, and an extra gallon for the snow blowers gas can.
Imagine my surprise when I saw a dozen or so cars lined up to hit the gas pumps.
I see the place swamped like this from time to time. Then again that’s mostly on holiday weekends, or right when the weather is getting nice in the spring.
The middle of the day on a random Thursday? Not so much.
One point eight miles, thats the drive from my house to my job. I can usually cover this in about five minutes, so depending on traffic and lights I leave about ten minutes early to make work on time.
I understand I made a few stops, but last Thursday saw it take me over an hour to make it home.
Over an hour because some folks apparently lost their damn minds.
I don’t care whether they were fighting over the last bag of rock salt or stocking up on beans and water like it was going out of style, they were still panicking for no real reason..
Winter storm warning or not the most they were calling for is a foot of snow.
It’s Wisconsin in January.
Do these people honestly expect it to be warm and pleasant out?
Did the rock salt duo not think back in October that perhaps they might need to salt the sidewalk again this year?
Did people somehow forget that it snows here?
Baffled by the examples of blazing stupidity I headed into to the house and hunkered down for the evening.
A nice relaxing snowpocalypse with my family.