Everyone knows you have to be smarter and tougher than average to survive the North Country winter. It’s Darwin, pure and simple. The folks who walk on the thin ice, who drive on the bald tires, who go out to make snow angels after drinking tequila, they are likely to get bred out of the line.
It’s a tough time. Not only are the days too short, everything takes more time. You have to struggle into the Frankenstein boots, the fat gloves, the moon-suit and the stupid hat with the pom-pom. You have to drive slower–after you brush off the snow and scrape the windows. Half your calories go to just keeping your core temperature warmer than, say, a corpse.
It’s a pain in the butt, so you learn to do the math. There is an optimum speed at which to drive in any road conditions that will keep your car between the snowbanks and still get you there in time for dinner. Those who can’t manage the calculations in their head keep the tow truck operator’s children in college funds.
There is a minimum amount of snow shoveling that will allow your car to blast through the end of your driveway and make it onto the road. If you miscalculate by 10% you find yourself a foot short of the road with all four tires off the ground. And of course if you shovel too much too fast, there’s the heart attack.
And travel on foot requires its own set of delicate calculations. If you can’t balance watching where you put your feet with watching what’s coming down the road, you’ll either break a hip or be lost beneath a beer truck. They call it situational awareness, I believe, in the military.
So study up on the odds and we’ll all make it safely through to spring. And cultivate good relations with your neighbors. The odds are good that when you get caught out doing something stupid, they’ll be around to help you out. They may shake their heads and laugh, but they’ll help you out.