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February 09, 2017

The snow makes some people do weird things.

What is it with people and driving? When the sun is out people drive like nuts, buzzing around and through traffic, reenacting their favorite NASCAR memories. When it rains, drivers seem to lose their minds, and they seem to have a temporary brain cramp when on the road. However, it is the snow that causes people to lose all sense of sanity.

A snowfall brings out several different types of drivers; each one is dangerous in their own right. My favorite, and the one I will be discussing today, is the ‘Story Driver.” This is a person that on a beautiful spring day would refuse to get behind the wheel of his, or her, car, because it is a pain to run to the store. Yet, the first snowflake stirs the call of the wild and a need to bring some much-needed excitement to their lives.

Many years ago, I was working at Shop ‘n’ Save. Our store was on the top of a slag heap, and there was always a twenty mile-an-hour wind blowing. In the summer, you could see tumbleweeds rolling across the parking lot. One winter, a blizzard invaded the Pittsburgh area, the snow was blowing sideways and four foot drifts were covering the parking lot. Government officials were encouraging everyone to stay home. Salt trucks were stranded all over the county, and, needless to say, our store was empty, but open.

We were trying to talk sense to management about closing; when through the window, lights appeared in the parking lot. My God, it was a car. The vehicle stopped, and a bent old man got out and began pushing his walker through the snow. He entered the store and vanished to the produce department. Five minutes later, the guy is at in the checkout line with one avocado. ONE AVOCADO!!

While inline he tells me how treacherous the roads were, about the vehicles off the road, salt trucks stuck, power lines down, and traffic signals that weren’t working. He complained that our parking lot needed plowed and salted, and I should have shoveled and salted the sidewalk in front of the store, not to mention the tennis balls on his walker were soaked. It was the longest five minutes in my life. Add a chaser of perplexed, to the dumb look I’m usually serving up on my face, and you get a real clear picture of my interest and feelings for the Marco Polo of the South Hills.

I watched as he and his avocado, pushed their way through the blowing snow and slush towards his 1983 Buick Regal. I shook my head as his tail lights vanished in the white curtain of snow. In the distance, I could hear the lonely wail of a police siren, and I wondered what one could do with one avocado; although one thought did cross my mind for my snowy shopper…