Hump Day: SlushFest 2013: “celebrating” the Ices of March

Hump DayHump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Moncton Times & Transcript
Editorial section

I really don’t mind the winter, but this is the time of year when I just want it to go away. I don’t think I’m alone in this sentiment.

When the air is cold and the snow is white and crisp, it’s truly beautiful. Several days ago, we had what is called a hoarfrost (stop giggling!) that resulted in the tree branches being painted white just like a postcard. That’s the kind of winter I can handle — as long as it’s visually attractive, I’m OK with that.

An appropriate nickname for March, though, could be just “Slush.” Freeze, thaw, freeze, thaw. Ice, slush, ice, slush. The snow is brown — or black, even. Puddles abound. Poor pedestrians get unwanted and unexpected showers due to the mere fact of trying to keep active. I do my best to slow down and avoid splashing them, but unfortunately from time to time I’ve been guilty of getting a few of them soaked.

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day when he told me that he scrapes his driveway down to the bare pavement after every snowfall. I, too, am careful to shovel and get things neat and proper, but I draw the line at scraping everything down to the pavement. The sun will take care of that — at least that’s what I usually think.

This year, though, my driveway has turned into an imitation of craters on the moon. The snow is packed down, thick and bumpy. After a couple of wet snowfalls in February, the snow packed down before the plow came by and just stayed like that. As I quietly mocked my neighbours who scraped the snow off their driveways for being a bit too picky, I eventually changed my tune after I needed mountain climbing equipment to get from one end of my driveway to the other — and practically losing sight of the dog as she manoeuvred in and out of the craters.

Yeah, there’s something to be said about being picky like that. Maybe I’ll marry someone one day who will get down on their knees and scrape the driveway with a toothbrush after every snowflake hits the ground. I’ll mock them heartily, but at least no one will slip and fall in the driveway — and I won’t lose the dog in those craters!

If there’s something that drives me batty is all that slush. From to time, I have to go downtown for meetings and appointments, and the streets are like slushy land mines just waiting to explode all over you just when you’re least expecting it.

And I don’t know if you’re like me, but I somehow never notice those gross salt stains on the back of my pant legs until I’m just about to go into a meeting. It’s right up there with dragging toilet paper around town that’s stuck to your shoe. No one ever points out the stain, for some reason, but when I arrive home I’ll happen too look down and the back of the bottom of my pant leg is caked in white road salt. Oh nice! That’s just what you want to be walking around town looking like, eh?

I’m never shy about telling people that something is awry with their clothing. Even if I don’t know them well, I’ll let them know. They’re always grateful – and I always apologize and let them know I wasn’t sure if I should say anything. They always insist on wanting to know – as do I. The other day, I was walking around with a huge tear in the back of my pants that I hadn’t even noticed. Thank­fully, someone kindly pointed out that fact to me before I went much further along in the day. That neon pink thong doesn’t hide much, after all. (Yes, I’m joking – it’s actually yellow.)

Friends online are reporting that their tulips are starting to break through the ground in spots. That’s certainly encouraging. No matter the amount of snow on the ground, the tulips and other early flowers are always the first to poke their heads out — almost as if to remind the cold and snow that their end is near.

Soon, the familiar aroma of thawing dog mess will permeate the air. This is not a smell I would normally enjoy in the summer, but in the late winter, it’s not so bad. I’m not looking forward to picking it all up when the snow’s gone, though.

March Break has come and gone — the definite sign that the school year is in its last few months before another one is over. And is it just me, or does practically everyone go away for March Break now? When I was a kid, it was an excuse to watch TV and relax for a week. These days, everyone goes south. Then I read all the complaints online about how they couldn’t get to Florida because of snow storms closing the airports. How relaxing!

I wonder how many people ended up in Florida only to find out they couldn’t drive or rent a car without an international driver’s permit now required by the state government for Canadian drivers? Technically a Canadian isn’t even supposed to drive their own car through Florida without this ridiculous requirement. Florida definitely sounds like a state that takes its Canadian tourists for granted, if you ask me.

There are contradictory reports all over the place about this. Some reports say the decision has been put on hold, while others say that the law is still in place but that the highway patrol won’t enforce it. Of course, there are many other law enforcement bodies in the state that have been fining Canadians for not having the silly permit.

Regardless, spring is on its way — be you in Florida or New Brunswick. The slush is here for a few more weeks — and I know one little white dog who’s looking forward to getting back into the park for walks. Spring can’t come fast enough for her!

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