“My favorite thing about Erie is the snow.”
Said no one ever.
In fact, harsh winters are arguably the worst aspect of day-to-day life in “the mistake by the lake.” They’re certainly the most talked about.
The second snow begins to fall, students take to Facebook, posting pictures of snow-covered lawns and praying for canceled classes as if hell itself has frozen.
I’m as guilty as the next person of whiny comments, but let’s face it: much of the student body comes from Cleveland, Buffalo and Pittsburgh – areas familiar with snow. We aren’t a bunch of displaced Hawaiians, so why do we act like the kid in “Johnny Tsunami?”
Besides, Erie’s snowfall is no secret. When I told people that’s where I intended to go to college, most laughed. “Do you own a parka?” they’d ask.
As unwelcome and annoying as those comments were, they prepared me. I knew to expect snow. Likewise, if I’d chosen to attend college in Seattle, I wouldn’t waste my breath complaining about rain. Not to mention Erie’s last few winters have been relatively mild.
Even though I have grown up with cold winters and I knew what I was getting myself into by moving to Erie, I’ll still gripe to anyone who will listen. I need to cut that out though. First, because no one wants to hear it and second, because it doesn’t make the months go by any faster.
Sixth Street is a different story entirely. Crossing Sixth Street is like crossing the Delaware, but colder and more dangerous. Instead of boats full of colonial soldiers, groups of students slip and slide from one side to the other.
What was the worst that could have happened to Washington and his army? Capsizing? Hypothermia? Hessians? Please.
How about when the snow and wind mix to create sheets of snowflakes blowing sideways? You can’t look straight ahead without getting fat, wet flakes in your eyes, and you can’t wear ski goggles without getting funny looks.
In those cases, I keep my head down until I make it to the curb. Then I peek my head up just enough to see other sets of legs moving forward and blindly follow, hoping someone actually checked for oncoming traffic.
One day I’m going to find myself under a Chevy, feet poking out like the Wicked Witch of the East. (But instead of ruby red slippers, I’ll be wearing 4-year-old Uggs, so – assuming I’m actually dead – feel free to snatch them.)
No, my favorite part of Erie is not the snow – and certainly not Sixth Street – but at least there are only 47 days to spring.
This article originally published in the Jan. 30 edition of The Gannon Knight.