Driving from California to Massachusetts all those years ago, I thought I was over the culture shock within a year. But I had forgotten the kind of events that you may only experience once a year (or not at all some years) that life-long New Englanders have under their belts: a snow storm.
Now with Blizzard Nemo dumping 24 inches in 24, it marks only my second ever experience with over 12 inches of snowfall and my very first blizzard. I’m excited I’ve now experienced one of the top 5 biggest snow storms in Boston’s history! I look back and can’t help but think maybe I’ve learned a thing or two. As a Californian, my idea of being prepared for snow was having chains for your car tires and a hose to melt the ice off your windshield. Turns out, neither of those are a good idea here.
Lesson 1, Shoveling: shovel out as soon as humanly possible, but not before it’s stopped snowing. Do not, under any circumstances allow the snow to melt and re-freeze before shoveling or you’ll just get iced over. Surprisingly, pouring jugs of how water on the ground will not help you remove the ice. Do not wear cute knitted gloves, this will provide no grip and make handling the shovel impossible. You need something with grip, like leather. Figure out where you are going to put the snow, it has to be somewhere it can sit around for a long time.
Lesson 2, The Car: Make sure you’re parked on the correct alternating side of the street. If you don’t plan to drive all winter, at least start the car once in a while–it won’t start at all by the end if you don’t. Put up your wipers up before the snow happens otherwise they will freeze to your windshield. Also, when shoveling around your car don’t forget there can be snow under it too, which will make getting out of your parking spot just as hard. Take the snow off the top of the car first though– it’s probably more than it looks like and then you’ll have to shovel the ground around your car twice. Brush off your car with something soft, like a broom. Ice + scraping = scratches. Keep such an implement in your car all winter. Your wiper fluid will be frozen, so don’t try spraying it on your windshield to remove ice. Learn how to parallel park: two big banks of snow on either side of your shoveled out spot takes an expert to get in and out, if you don’t do it, someone else will. Guard your parking spot like a maniac: use a stroller, lawn chair, whatever you can to save your spot while you’re away, shoveled out spots are good as gold and lots of people are lazy. My personal favorite: trash can.
Lesson 3, transportation: Just because you can drive your car in the snow doesn’t mean it will obey your commands. Public transportation may shut down in the middle of the day so don’t depend on that either. Even walking someplace takes twice as long in lots and lots of snow, do you really have to be wherever it is? Sometimes it’s best to stay home.
Lesson 4, Work: Weigh the cost of what you have to do versus how long it will take you to get there, sometimes it’s just not worth it. Also, if campus is closed, your swipe card may not work: they’ve thought of how to keep overzealous kids like you out.