I can just hear the announcers booming deep voice, a mix of Samuel L. Jackson and Jim Carrey, “Winter Storm 2013!” Cause that’s how they do it in Seattle, a few flakes send the shopper’s fleeing for batteries, canned goods, generators, Starbucks gift cards, books; cause after all, we are one of the most highly educated cities in the U.S. We are busily downloading the new George Saunders book and tweeting about it. Yes Tweeting, don’t pretend that is a bird sound anymore. It’s something else we do more than anywhere else in the U.S. including people in LA or Poughkeepsie. And this week people are tweeting the forecast for Friday Snow!
So snow hits, cars’ slide, Prius’; crash into power poles, (Prius’ suck in the snow) they race out to Whole Foods for Gluten Free Pasta or Soy Candles and environmentally safe fire logs so they can do their planks next to the firelight. Burn ban….right, right, we have these. We honor them here as true as we honor that red hand at the cross walk. We are rule followers in the NW. Which therein is why snow works for us.
SO picture this, we are in the dark because of the power outages from snow laden, falling trees finally kids will take off their Xbox headsets for a few hours. This is a real Christmas gift. Seattle folks will be leaving their charmingly small and overpriced homes and walking their dogs, connecting with neighbors. They’ll even say hi when it snows, it’s no lie, I didn’t know most of my neighbors before our first snowfall. Yes they will be walking… their real motive may be to spy on the dog walkers, breaking the cardinal unspoken sin of dropping the dog doo into our empty garbage can, before we have a chance to pull them in still the snow brings changes to our Seattleness immediately. But they’ll finally leave their house, in droves!
The real issue is of course we love hype here in Seattle. Be it our music or our liberal politics or that we were first to make people addicted and/or accustomed to really good coffee. We believe in the Hype! We believe in technology, innovation, nature and especially forecasts of snow. If it arrives with Santa on Christmas week, our colorless pallid demeanor fades; our sun-robbed retinas lights up like the star of Bethlehem. The problem, we may not be done with our Christmas shopping!
You may ask yourself why that’s such a big deal when their online shopping. Deliveries won’t come on time, we aren’t equipped for snow, only hype and having a gift a day late to us NW rule followers is as intolerable as our weather! Shopping, and Christmas are also a hugely important indicator of world progress, markets rising, economy upswing. We need holiday bustle and gifts-lots of them under every Noble Fir.
This is where the weather misers finds their renewed power. After all predicting weather patterns across oceans and mountains is like finding a subject in Jackson’s Pollack work art. Spotty at best.
So being that the snow is an attention getter, a forum for our fair NW city, I had a hunch the other day I couldn’t dispel. Is it possible Cliff Mass is in cahoots with the Economics professor at UW and they saw an opportunity to play god? Perhaps they say an change to affect the universe successfully, like Malcolm Gladwell says in his book-it’s all about timing! They hit it.
It started out harmlessly, they were sapped and groveling feeling powerless about how their wives just outright bought their own gifts instead of waiting….and like sun from behind the cloud, a plan emerged, and they embraced it.
Weather folks in Seattle are indeed powerful and listened to, if for nothing else for their bravery of dangling something so improbable before the public. The way I see it, a little scenario, something like this, played out. One expert talked to another- Cliff Mass, or Garth Ferber, Washington’s state’s famed Avalanche expert who- BTW lives on my street, (yes, name dropping, we do that here) …so they were sharing a bottle of Chateau St. Michelle Cabernet late one night (after 9). Like the crescendo in Sleigh Bells, a surge of joy burst forth. Their eyes twinkled like Santa-“we are the ball handlers in this snow business, we have the advantage let’s use it this year. One highly anticipated forecast could bump up miserably low sales volumes. With a simple forecast, 99% chance of Snow flurries on NPR, change could happen. Sure as Santa’s suit is red, we listened, we rushed out. We stepped things up, started baking, opened our wallets willingly. We Seattlites stock up like the big one’s coming, if the weather man says to.
The result in a year where prices are hideously inflated, less is truly less and we housewives are On to the smaller packaging the seed of hope was planted. The economy was boosted, as an idea that started small took off. We sang carols in 2013 even of the Christian nature, we gathered around the piano-newly purchased, the wine was flowing (fake beer in my case) and Merry was made. Indeed 2013 turned out to be a lucky year after all. An economy was kick started, by two weather experts sharing a cockamamie idea to use their expertise to enliven their local community at Christmas Time with a forecast of snow. And so they did, shaking their smiling heads in amusement. “God Bless of Everyone!”