I may have been looking at only one half of the equation when I wrote last month about how we New Englanders are a hardy bunch thanks to winter.
The nor’easter that came through last weekend made ample demonstration of those qualities. Some businesses defiantly stayed open. People helped each other dig out cars and went out to make snowmen. A bad storm, sure, but nothing a warm drink or a bowl of soup won’t help.
Of course, it also amplified the quality I mentioned late in the column: that if it’s a bad winter, we New England folk love to complain about it. And since it’s been a fairly dry winter and you may be feeling out of touch, I thought I’d put together a guide on how best to gripe, kvetch, bellyache, or whatever your preferred method is.
- Be sure to treat any winter storm as something completely out of the ordinary for this region. How dare it snow in New England in the calendar period marked as the winter months! Didn’t our Founding Fathers fight against that or something?
- Demand to know why the grocery store is out of bread and milk. Don’t they know milk and bread sandwiches are the only source of nutrition during a blizzard?
- Be sure to complain if your street isn’t plowed by the time the last snowflake hits the ground; but when the plow does come, you can get a twofer by complaining that it pushed snow over your sidewalk or driveway.
- Be sure to demand an explanation for why the plow hasn’t been through if the road conditions are so bad that someone tried to take his or her car out during a travel ban and it got it stuck sideways across the street.
- If someone is stuck in the snow in front of you, be sure to lean on your horn and shout curses at them. Obviously the only thing preventing their balding tires from finding purchase is auditory abuse.
- Complain that the plow left too wide a strip of snow between the road and your car if you parked on the street. If it didn’t, you can complain that snow was piled up against your car or that the blade knocked your side mirror off.
- If you want to complain about the complainers, that’s just as fun. Stop whining that the plow hasn’t gotten to your street, grab a shovel, and get to work! I mean, what’s so hard about moving 20,000 square feet of waterlogged snow with a little plastic scoop?
- Question whether there is enough salt on the streets and reserve the right to say it’s too much when you find a rust spot on your car.
- Make any and all of the above complaints while not bothering to take five minutes to shovel out the fire hydrant near your house.
- Bitterly argue over whether the Republicans or Democrats are responsible for all this.
Now you’re complaining like a true New Englander! Be sure to keep this list close at hand. Scientists have determined that contrary to popular belief, winter doesn’t end permanently when the snow melts.