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December 19, 2008 - Wes Burns
The seasons in Iowa have changed once again. In the Midwest the seasons loosely adhere to the following pattern, starting in May
Spring (2 weeks)
Rain (40 Days)
Heat (3 weeks)
Sweltering heat (lifetime)
Fall (4 days)
Winter (2 months)
Biblical Winter (lifetime #2)
We have recently entered the biblical winter phase. You can tell it biblical winter because of the increased ice, a somewhat frightening appearance of something called Thunder Snow, and the indescribable need to repent. Also- the fanatical zeal of Marshalltown residents as they flock to the local super stores in search of such vital provisions as milk and vodka and fresh DVDs.
Not all the horrors of biblical winter are restrained to elusive weather phenomenon and hording. There is a rare creature that appears only during the winter months, impeding everyone's travel plans with its poorly conceived existence and infuriating persistence.
This is the snohawk.
Ever try to drive in downtown (uptown?) Marshalltown after the first heavy snow?
Pop quiz hot shot: you are driving down a one way street heading home after a long day at the socio-biological research facility (read: elementary school) and looking forward to nothing more than relaxing with your special someone and enough warm cognac to fell an elephant. You see your turn coming up on the left side of the road in a couple blocks. There is no other traffic on the road. What do you do?
Shoot the hostage? Wrong, and don't quote Dennis Hopper at me.
Any normal person would say: why Wes, what a silly question! All you would need to do is change lanes, make your turn, and continue en route to your humble home. This would work, if not for the snohawks.
The snohawk is the snow mohawk created when the plows inexplicably push all the snow into the middle of the road, thereby destroying any chance you may have had of changing lanes, making a turn, or otherwise conducting yourself in a civilized manner.
If you are in the wrong lane and need to change? Too bad. Big pile of snow.
Trying to pull into a parking lot? Too bad. Big pile of snow.
Trying to pass a street side parked semi truck? Too bad. Big pile of snow.
Last year, before my time with the Times Republican, I commuted to work in Cedarloo. A fierce winter storm started while I was at work and I had decided to stay at my friend Ryan's place rather than die a horrible death on the icy highways. We were watching some TV in Ryan's downtown apartment when I heard a loud crash. I looked at Ryan and he wasn't worried; few people eating a corn-dog out of a ketchup-filled pint glass are worried about the affairs of the outside world. I had to look out the window.
It was the plows. The storm had subsided and they were plowing the main street district. The surprising element was that, after the plows had pushed all the snow into the middle of the street, another plow came by and collected the snow so it wouldn't be in people's way.
They collected the snow. So it wouldn't be in people's way.
My mind was blown. I had always been told there was nothing that could be done about the snohawks; they were just a part of the season and must be endured. Why do the citizens of Marshalltown, specifically those of us that have to drive to the main street district to come to work, have to put up with these white walled corridors of inconvenience?
If you live in an area that has enough foresight to totally remove the snow then please, enjoy every minute of it; some of us aren't so lucky.
If you live in an area that is too warm to have snow then please, don't tell me about it.
And if you live in Las Vegas or Portland then please, get over it. It snowed. It happens.
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