Minnesota Is A Winter Wonderland For Dolts

Og, one of the prehistoric inhabitants of the area that would become Minnesota turned to his wife one day and said, “It is cold. I never would have expected this when the days have grown so short.”

Og’s wife, Julie, said, “For the sake of your fat head, Og, it’s like this every year. You have been here many years, cold is followed by cool, then hot, then cool, and then cold again. EVERY year you babble about the unexpected weather. Go back to skinning your bear and leave me alone.”

This may, or may not have actually happened. But Og is alive and well in modern Minnesota.

I present as my evidence the fact that people “don’t expect a winter this bad” when it hits.

I have been around this neighborhood for over 90% of my life. Yet each year I am forced to deal with millions of others who appear to have slicked their memory banks from the previous year.

On Friday it zoomed down to -6 Fahrenheit during the day. I was ready for up to 20 minutes of exposure to the cold with multiple layers. That would allow me to exit the house/workplace when the bus-tracking software showed him 10 minutes out, and leave me some margin. I did not expect that the Metropolitan Transit Commission would fail to get a bus there in a 50 minute period. Yes, not 10, 20, or even 30 minutes, but 50 minutes between buses. My little toes got cold to the point of numb, and I started to shiver as I stood there, the big dummy I am, in the darkness waiting for my ride home. 4 other buses on the nearest route went by during that time. When I contacted the bus company, they said, “Oh. He’s not reporting any data. That’s not good.”

Seriously? You have two missing buses out there in sub-zero cold and you’re not aware of it? Nobody called in and said, “Hey, Mikey, I’m broken down on the east side. Send help.” Two of them off the radar and … well, I guess the MTC doesn’t plan on winter being an issue.

The same lack of preparedness goes for a lot of hipster types I see downtown. No hat, no heavy coat, no gloves. They dash from their office to the bus when it pulls up and board without the encumbering Carhartt coat. The’d best hope they aren’t on the bus that fails on my route.

Once the bus got me a few blocks from home, I had to navigate the ice-packed sidewalks on the way to my house. I am, admittedly, more than a bit OCD regarding winter preparations: I go to Menards in August and get my salt limit up to 20 bags. 10 on the front porch, 10 in the garage. This year I had 24 bags ready to go, and three 5 gallon pails that were already set to go! Consequently, I’m not very sympathetic when the “surprise” ice storm hits, and people say, “Well, they were out of salt at the store.”

Here’s a newsflash: the stuff keeps literally forever. A couple of the bags at the bottom of the pile are probably 10 years old.

Almost enough salt to make it through a Minnesota winter. This is my personal pile.

This wouldn’t be a huge deal if it wasn’t every year that the same mopes didn’t shovel/salt their sidewalk. This year, in some kind of bonus round to accompany the extreme cold, several downtown buildings (worth hundreds of millions of dollars) have failed to shovel their sidewalks/pedestrian plazas, and completely neglected the application of salt. Consequently, you are taking your life in your hands walking around the capitol city of Minnesota.

I do have a solution: appoint me the Czar of winter in Minnesota. In order for you to get your tax refund, or occupancy certificate, I must be satisfied that you have a good hat for your head, a decent shovel/snowblower (those broom things that just push the snow into the street will be outlawed), and 40 pounds of salt for every 50 square feet of sidewalk/steps. That should cover you for the full year.

In addition, as Czar, if you wish to drive between September and June, you must have new wipers, a battery that tests properly, tread on your tires, cold weather washer fluid in the tank, and 1/4 of a tank of gas at all times. You are also prohibited from operating your vehicle until the snow is removed from all windows, the hood, and the roof of your car.

Failure to comply will result in your car being crushed while you watch. With your groceries inside.

See, all this prep stuff I do each year is easy as can be. I can be very helpful if you’ll just let me.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go put on my long underwear and stocking cap: I’ve got a formal banquet to attend tonight.

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