Winter’s double whammy tests our capacity to suffer - The Buffalo News
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Winter’s double whammy tests our capacity to suffer

Dear Climate Gods,

Enough already.

You made your point.

Wednesday’s school-closing, traffic-clogging, fingertip-freezing blizzard was the snow that figuratively broke the shovel’s shaft.

You win. We give up.

Yes, you have the power to bring us to our knees. Yes, you can close our schools. Paralyze our roads. Shut our government offices. Strand our vehicles. Even – egad, is the apocalypse upon us? – darken the Walden Galleria.

Despite all of our technology, our manpower, our 21st century might, you have the last laugh. When you rage, we cower. When you flex your muscle, you rule. You control us, we don’t control you. We admit it. Are you happy now?

It is mid-March. We are reeling from a double-blizzard punch – a rare occurrence in Buffalo. Color us blue from extended visits by the polar vortex. Rate us weary from a long, cold, 115-plus snow inches season.

Yes, we admit it: We got soft and sassy and overconfident after the last two wimpy winters. No, we promise not to let that happen again. Can you please stop now?

Thanks – or, rather, no thanks – for reminding us what a real Buffalo winter looks like.

It was one reminder too many for Cierra Fisher.

“I’ve got to get out of here,” she told me. “I’m just tired of cold weather.”

Fisher was standing Wednesday in the lobby of the Tops on Jefferson Avenue, waiting for a ride. She had a shopping cart full of groceries and an overload of frustration. Work as a medical aide has taken her to Texas, Florida and other toasty places. After this winter, toasty looks good to the Buffalo native. Toasty feels right.

“The older I get,” said Fisher, 37, “the more I don’t want to deal with this anymore. I seriously am thinking of getting out of here.”

Mark the scorecard: Cierra Fisher, driven out of town (maybe) by the winter of 2013-14.

Climate Gods, I hope you are happy.

It is mid-March, and we are tired of this … stuff. We had snow for Thanksgiving week. We got a lake-effect blast in mid- December. The first Blizzard of ’14 blew in the first week of January. Then the polar vortex made an extended visit, as welcome as ‘What’s for dinner?’ by in-laws. Now, Blizzard No. 2.

Enough already.

Enough of leaving faucets dripping overnight, so the pipes won’t freeze. Enough of cranking up the snowblower or – for the manually inclined – the endless shovel cycle of dig-lift-fling-repeat. Enough of kicking snow bricks from the car wheel wells. Enough of – for Cenntia Carter – waiting for the bus in an arctic deepfreeze.

Those are a few of our least-favorite things.

“The worst is when the bus stop isn’t shoveled,” said Carter, shivering Wednesday at the Jefferson/Utica stop. “You have to climb over the piles of snow.”

For years, the debate has raged between city and NFTA officials over who should shovel at bus stops. The debate still rages. Carter – 68, who works at the Salvation Army homeless shelter – and thousands of other bus riders are collateral damage.

I don’t know what we did to deserve all of this. I blame all of those who angered the Climate Gods, who tempted fate, by putting away their snow shovels at February’s end. Who broke out the shorts Tuesday when it hit 51 degrees. Who replaced the evergreen wreath on the door last weekend with the frilly, flowery Easter decoration. (OK, yes, that was me). It is all of our faults. Wednesday, we paid for our transgressions.

“I told people all last week, ‘This winter isn’t over; you’ll see,’ ” said James Caver, a retired BMHA laborer, warming himself Wednesday in the Tops lobby.

Remember: What slickens our roads, shuts our schools, erases our appointments and chills our bones only makes us stronger. After this winter, we are a collective Incredible Hulk.

As bad as this has been, there are blessings. At 44, John Pennick is old enough to remember the Blizzard of ’77.

“That was way worse than this,” he told me, gathering groceries at Tops. “People couldn’t even get out the door, the snow was piled so high.”

Thank you, Climate Gods, for sparing us that calamity. But seriously – two blizzards in one winter? Turn off the snow, turn up the heat. We’ve suffered enough.


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