This is not like your (remembered) childhood in Vermont when you walked 30 miles (one way), barefoot and carrying your little sister and supplies for a starving Europe, to school in 9 foot snow drifts.
I saw cars with Massachusetts and New York plates spiral off the roads. A friend who was raised in Great Falls, Montana (that’s M-O-N-T-A-N-A) said blizzard-like conditions in downtown DC were as bad as anything she could recall.
So are we wimps or super snow bunnies, indeed maybe even lions?
Here are some notes from our e-mail bag:
“I resent the comments that Washington, DC Federals are wimps.
“I remember the days when the Gov’t would not make the decision to close the Gov’t until we were snowed in AT WORK. The decision to close the Gov’t was made around 6:30-7 am. By the time a decision was made, I was sitting at my desk.
“Back in 1986-87, we left Fredericksburg, VA to drive up I-95 hoping they would close the Gov’t. The highway was snow packed, and we had 6 inches of snow on the ground at that time and it was not stopping anytime soon. It took 7 hours to make it home. The highways were not plowed, traffic was bumper to bumper and it was downright scary at times. Forget finding a hotel room to wait it out. Everything was sold out.
“I think the decisions that have been made here the last couple of years are far braver than wimpy. I wonder how many lives have been saved by these decisions? If the Gov’t was scheduled to be open, the majority of federal employees would have tried to go to work.
“So these cities where they brave 10 feet of snow and still make it to work, My hat’s off to you. Send your snow equipment to us next time and maybe things here will be a little different.
The Philadelphia Story: From the City of Brotherly (sometimes) Love this query: “My fellow employees and I are wondering why our workplace the Philadelphia IRS Campus remained open for the blizzard on February 10 & 11th, 2010 when every other level of government in the city of Philadelphia, city, state & federal including other IRS offices closed. All of the major routes in the city were closed and public transportation was shut down. I could not get out of my house and my car was plowed in. I guess IRS campus employees lives are not meaningful to management. So now I must use my annual leave for this event while other federal employees are on administrative (excused leave).” Call Me Ben Franklin
“I agree with Mitch in Atlanta (quoted in an earlier column). I am an essential employee and expected to be at work even if the government is shut down. My boss who is a ZP-5/GS-15 is not essential and does not have to come in (and I believe did not during this latest round of snow) when the government was shut down, but he makes more money than I do. Is it any wonder people outside the beltway are angry at govt people getting paid for not having to go to work.” Federal Meteorologist in Camp Springs, Md.
“I sympathize with those of our fellow citizens who live in the sticks. But a little clarification here: the “Metro” system is very effective if a) you live inside the beltway, b) there isn’t more than 7-8 inches of snow that shuts down the above ground stations, and c) the Metro rail wasn’t an accident waiting to happen. There are multiple Northeasterners, Midwesterners, and other snow drivers in the washington area who seem to forget how to drive when they get here. If you could ride Metro that means you were in downtown D.C. and could walk to work anyway. Besides are these the same people who get rattled by a little bit of wind? C’mon just because it has a little funnel to it?” WT with Defense.
“When I was an active, shift-working federal employee living along the Gulf coast there would be an occasional emergency situation (weather or furlough) where they announced that ‘Non-essential employees do not need to report to work.’ That usually translated to supervisory, administrative, and day workers. Our curiosity always made us wonder why ‘non-essential’ employees even needed to be on the payroll! I mean… It’s great to be deemed essential, but I’d rather have stayed home with my family, too!” Ed Landry, Coastal Alabama retiree.