By Cesaria Martinez, Contributor
How do Southerners and Northerners react to the image of a snowflake on the weather forecast? For the Southerner, this image is a threat. In preparation for the impending snowpocalypse he savages through grocery aisles leaving nothing in his wake, cancels any outdoor commitments and awaits the predicted two inches of snow with continued anxiety. Meanwhile, the Northerner merely shrugs his shoulders at the news and plans a jog in the morning in order to enjoy the pleasant weather.
Both of these reactions are valid, but often the Southerner is criticized for his snow anxiety without appreciating that waking up to a snowy white winter morning is a rare scene in the South. It seems unfair to judge the South for melting down when it is forced to face the hazards of snow it is generally unprepared for. Unlike South Carolina, New York and other northern states expect to receive several inches of snow during the year, so they make the adequate preparations to function in the event of a snow storm. It is all about logic—a Greenvillian needs a snow shovel as much as a New Yorker needs a mowing machine.
As an Atlanta native, I know perfectly well how just two inches of snow can shut down an entire city. Jan. 29, snow began to fall in small flaky chunks while I was still in school. After early dismissal, I caught a ride with a friend thinking that I would not be getting home anytime soon if I waited for my mom to pick me up that day. Little did I know that I was not going to arrive home until 5 a.m. As the snow turned to black ice, car after car stopped and people took to their feet abandoning their cars. I would not have minded walking, but my house was miles away from school. Atlanta clearly lacked the infrastructure needed to handle that amount of snow. My night on the snowy road gave me enough time to understand that the lack of resources available is upsetting. But because no one expects it to snow in Atlanta,the city mayor did not invest in snow trucks and salt reserves and neither did my friend in winter tires. In all the snow chaos, everyone judges and forms his or her own opinion about what went wrong and whose fault was it. It is easy to ridicule and say that Southerners are unnecessarily dramatic in their fear of snow, but their fear springs from legitimate experiences like the one I had in Atlanta. Any Northerner probably has had enough exposure to snow that he has learned to regard snow in a different light than a Southerner.
One is crazy for jogging in the snow while the other one is for treating two inches it like an apocalypse. So let the Southerner stock his shelves at home with more food than he needs, and do not judge the Northerner who chooses to use the snow-filled streets of New York city as a ski resort—they are both acting upon their natural instincts.