You will probably have noticed that I did not post this morning.
I did indeed. Snowed in, nothing to do outside the house--a perfect time to rattle off a few fact-free, logic-free posts and then amuse yourself with games, blogs, and tv the rest of the day.
That's because sometime before 8 am, I decided that I should get to the grocery store and pick up my lung medicine in the hiatus between snows.
What? You have allergy attacks that have sent you to the emergency room but you don't pick up medicine before a blizzard? And you've read the Little House books, which are filled with harrowing accounts of blizzards that usually last three days?
Four hours later, I returned with a trunk full of whatever could be scavenged from the grocery store shelves.
You knew there was a blizzard coming and you did not prepare? You must really be kicking yourself now.
You have never seen a city as completely incompetent at dealing with snow as Washington DC.
Oh yeah, blame the city.
I mean, two feet of snow is inconvenient anywhere. But in DC, only the main streets have been plowed. And by "plowed", I mean that one meager lane has been cleared, so that even major arteries like New York Avenue frequently narrow to one lane. The side streets have been turned into defacto one-way streets--except that no one knows which way. The result is a lot like driving on a country road in Ireland, where you are apt to come upon someone going the other way, and then spend precious moments staring at each other until one party reluctantly backs up to a wider spot.
This is just an uneducated guess, but you probably aren't supposed to be driving around looking for food right now, instead of leaving the way clear for emergency vehicles on the one-lane road.
The difference is that Irish drivers are somewhat familiar with the conditions. DC today is the province of taxi drivers and SUV owners who seem simultaneously confused and overconfident. As I eased down the street in our little Japanese sedan, I quickly surmised that none of the drivers in the bite-sized tanks surrounding me had ever seen snow before. Three blocks later I revised that opinion: I don't think any of them had ever seen cars before. Certainly not the ones they were operating.
You left your cute little Mini-Cooper at home and took P. Suderman's less cute little Japanese car on the icy, slippery roads instead? Smart!
By the time I finally got to the grocery store, I discovered the scene many of you have already viewed on cable television. There was virtually no meat. There were no eggs--I thought I was missing them, until I realized that the egg section comprised the rows and rows of empty shelves stretching beneath one lonely carton of egg beaters. The frozen pizzas were pretty well decimated. Oddly, all of the shredded cheese and sliced cheese was gone, but there was plenty of the stuff in blocks. And I scored the last three containers of Yoplait Light. Oh, and the last four twelve-packs of regular diet coke. Sorry, Safeway shoppers--but I'm told that Diet Dr. Pepper tastes more like regular Dr. Pepper. More than what, I couldn't say.
I also noticed what Brian Caplan has remarked upon: the store brand frozen foods were pretty much still stocked at normal levels. This, even though Safeway's store brands tend to be private label versions of top premium brands--and more than occasionally, are better than anything else on offer. I helped myself freely to their quite tasty rising crust pizza, but anyone who wanted a slab of Red Baron's tomato-flavored cardboard was out of luck.
Naturally, both the fresh and frozen vegetable sections were still stocked to overflowing. I spent quite a bit of time last night making backup lists of vegetables I might buy, since I naturally expected that the produce would be picked over pretty well by now. Silly Megan. Apparently, when DC gets snowed in, it wants to do so with diet soda, Ritz crackers, six pounds of shredded cheddar, and a lifetime supply of stew meat. Me, I'm making slow cooker spaghetti sauce tomorrow.
When I got to the store, the lines looked reasonable. But by well before 9 am, they were stretching towards the back of the store. God knows what was left for the people who put off their shopping until noon.
Silly fools, not bothering to buy groceries until it was too late. Like eggs.
I understand that it doesn't necessarily make sense for DC to maintain plentiful snow moving equipment, when these types of heavy snowfalls only occur about once every seven years. But it seems to me we could try to maintain some psychological readiness. If this is how we react to a snow storm, what are we going to do when the Russkis invade?
McArdle can speak for herself. When we were getting warnings of an approaching hurricane, I gassed up all the cars, filled the propane tanks, stocked up on groceries and medical supplies, bought wind-up flashlights and charged everything that needed charging, renewed prescriptions that needed renewing, removed or tied down anything light in the back yard, and stocked up on books to read. When the hurricane was almost on us I cooked up all the meat in the freezer and filled the coolers with ice. And I'm not especially competent--not by a long shot.
But I do understand now why our Galt-goers refuse to Go Galt. They'd have to do all the work of survival themselves, instead of complaining that someone else isn't doing it for them.