When Local News Teams Cover Blizzards

8 02 2010

What I liked seeing:

Pictures of our major thoroughfares (I-495 and I-66) looking totally deserted.  They were snow-covered stretches with no hint of civilization, save the occasional green highway sign.  It’s surreal.

(The sight reminded me of the big tire fire in Philly in 1996 when we lived there.  Thousands of burning tires caused closure of a four-mile section of I-95 while engineers oversaw repairs to an overpass that had been damaged by the extreme heat.  Families who had lived in nearby houses for decades and who would never consider approaching the highway on foot could suddenly walk, dance, do cartwheels and even host a picnic on the roadbed.)

What I didn’t see but wished I’d observed:

A guy from Boston cavalierly claiming that people who don’t know how to drive in snow should stay off the road but that he was perfectly capable of handling the treacherous conditions.  And then watch him pull into his driveway and skid right through the picture window at the front of his house.

And the big question?

How many times can four local television stations showering us with 36 hour nonstop coverage say “Stay off the road and let the snow plows do their jobs?”  These words were uttered by anchor people sitting warm and pretty in the studio.  By street reporters wearing all manner of snow gear, one of whom was standing in the road and nearly got run over by a fire truck.  By unshaven plow drivers interviewed as they sat in their cabs, halfway through their twelve hour shifts.  By policemen, public safety spokesmen, and assorted politicians.

I listened to it for as long as I could, but finally got so frustrated by my inability to find anything decent to watch on television that I was forced to get in my car and seek out alternate diversion.  (Actually not true.  By the time we moved 600 cubic feet of snow—10 feet wide by 30 feet long by 2 feet deep—we were too tired to go anywhere.  And the plows hadn’t come yet anyway.  They were held up by people clogging the streets not letting the plow drivers do their jobs.)

It’s been three days now and still no hint of a plow.



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