Saturday, December 25, 2004

The Weather Outside is Frightful...I Better Buy Some Milk

I guess it was about last week at this time when the Big News hit. The weather guy calmly said the National Weather Service had issued a winter storm alert for St. Louis, and he'd have details after the commercial break.

Egad! Winter storm alert?! I ran to the garage, threw on my galoshes, and ran back to the living room. The commercial break was still going. Some dude with bad hair was telling me that I like nice things. That's just silly. I don't like nice things. I'm really sort of apathetic about nice things. Furniture is the missus's department. If she let me decorate, our couch would be upholstered in Rams logos.

The weather guy was back. He was talking about sleet.

Egad! Sleet?! I'd almost forgotten. I got up to run to the garage, then remembered my galoshes were already on. I cranked the sound up. We'd have a mixture of sleet and freezing rain overnight, extending into the morning rush hour.

Egad! Rush hour?! I sprung into the kitchen and checked on our supply of milk and bread. We had a full gallon of milk and two loaves of bread. Not enough. I grabbed my coat.

When I got to Schnucks, some guy was standing out front ringing a bell. I was stunned that he could be so blasé during a time like this. I dashed to the bakery. They were down to one loaf of pumpernickel and one loaf of pre-buttered garlic bread. Dang. I kicked myself for not listening to the forecast earlier. Everyone got the jump on me. I vowed to check the weather forecast every hour until spring.

In the meantime, I had to decide between the pumpernickel and garlic bread. Mmm, garlic bread. Now there's something I like. Don't tell me I like nice things. Tell me I like garlic bread. Maybe if he offered people free garlic bread in his store, he'd sell more nice things. I grabbed the garlic bread.

The dairy section was worse than the bread aisle. Completely empty except for a half-gallon of egg nog. I like egg nog, but it makes my stomach hurt. Then again, the same could be said about White Castle cheeseburgers. I snagged the jug of nog.

When I got home, I flipped on Channel 5. What the...? They didn't have the giant weather map on the screen. How could I track the storm without the giant weather map? What was I supposed to do, watch the shows? Confused, I sat through an entire evening's worth of Must See TV, but they never put up the weather map.

The 10 p.m. news finally arrived. I wasn't sure whether to watch the Doppler 5 forecast, or flip to 4Warn Weather. 4Warn Weather seemed more appropriate. They clearly had a better grasp on the gravity of the situation. Sleet was coming, dang it. I needed to be 4Warned.

It was pretty much the same forecast I'd seen at six. I chuckled at all the poor idiots who were hearing about the sleet for the first time and realizing they didn't have enough milk or bread. I sure got the jump on them.

I awoke at 5:30 a.m. and checked out the window. Sure enough, it had sleeted. The lawn was covered with it. The street looked strangely clear, but that was irrelevant.

I got dressed, tossed my egg nog and garlic bread in the trunk of the car, and hit the road. I had to leave early, because it was gonna take some time to get to work at 20 miles per hour.

I watched with envy as four-wheel-drive SUVs whizzed past. I wished I owned a four-wheel drive. Then I could have gone 80 miles per hour through the ice and slush, laughing at saps like me who have to drive 20 miles per hour because we know that going any faster in the sleet without four-wheel drive is like begging for icy carnage.

It appeared that traffic was backing up behind me a bit. Just to be safe, I slowed down to 15 miles per hour. The other drivers honked their approval.

I made it to work in just under three hours. As the honks of admiration finally faded away, I held my head high. I'd survived the first sleet of the season.

Ahh, I love winter in St. Louis.

Bob Rybarczyk ([]) is a senior copywriter at Influence US. He
was once thrown out of a Waffle House.