Snow way in heaven or hell

By Benjamin Massey

February 3rd, 2017

It snows in Vancouver most years so how are we so terrible at it?

I’d call this town a “dumpster fire” but that carries an unfortunate implication of warmth. It took me something like two hours to make the thirty-minute trip to work this morning, but my co-workers didn’t mind since half of them couldn’t make it at all. The train was immobilized by the wrong type of snow, the buses were getting stuck, the queues were so long we went “oh to hell with that” and went for a walk through the flurries like we were proper Canadians instead of effete left-coasters. I’m hosting a couple visitors for the women’s soccer game, including the other 49.5 of 99 Friendship. She is from Montreal, and she was throwing shade at our transit system. How has it come to this?

Bitching is fun, but for catharsis I gotta really castrate some blameworthy fuckers.

You can’t hate someone for not stocking up more on “essential” equipment, because for 360 days of the year there’s nothing essential about it. As anybody in parts of the country with actual winters knows, no amount of money keeps a snowstorm from occasionally being a real pisser. In Vancouver I get not fitting snow tires when you’d need them twice, or trains freaking out for a bit, or the city not keeping a mechanized division of snowplows around and filling the Capilano reservoir with rock salt so, when the weather does the dirty, we get to work twenty minutes rather than two hours late. There’s a point, and in Vancouver it’s pretty early, where preparation is waste. This city burns enough cash without us encouraging them every time we get our umbrellas frosted.

Even some failings of intellect come with excuses. You don’t get much practice at driving in the snow so you won’t be very good at it, fine. Some people genuinely don’t seem to realize that they sell little brushes at 7-11 which you can use to sweep all that snow off your Porsche Cayenne’s windshield. It’s not something they’ve seen, it’s not a solution that’s occurred to them. But the carnage is usually limited to the initial orgy of destructiveness as the snow is falling; once a bit of plowing happens and guys in 30-year-old Miatas realize you won’t automatically do a powerslide if you take that left-hander above walking pace, we don’t wind up far above the usual Vancouver background noise of anarchy and uselessness. Heck, we had snow in December and the Canada Line kept ticking the whole time. In February we got unlucky but were back on our feet after an inconvenient but not indefinite horror show.

The lazy pricks who own homes in Vancouver can’t be arsed to shovel their sidewalks, and they are the worst people in the world. But this is not a Vancouver-only problem, though admittedly here those pricks are property owners and therefore by default multi-millionaires so hate has the delicious zest of envy. Anyway it’s not a chronic commute-lengthener for everyone, just a substantial commute-lengthener for the guys who slip on neutron star-dense ice and break their clavicles. Do what I do and stomp all over their lawns, it’s much safer that way. Besides, the ice wouldn’t be so bad if we were used to it, or we had serious winter temperatures that hung out at -15-odd instead of bouncing between barely freezing and barely thawing every day until the most effective way to get around town is a pair of skates.

So it’s not the City’s fault, particularly. And it’s not the people’s fault, much. It definitely isn’t my fault. Which leads us to the obvious culprit for why Vancouver turns a flurry into Captain Oates’s worst nightmare: God. Don’t worry, I’ll sort Him out. I may be some time.

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