Minnesota had an unusually temperate winter this year, because the jet stream was parked in Canada all winter:
This meant that we were getting a lot of warm air from Arizona and all of the cold air in Canada was going around us, picking up water vapor from the great lakes, and dumping meters of snow on Boston, Philadelphia, and New York. Great, sez me. Hopefully, we’ll never hear a word out of those cities again- they’ve already made their great contributions to civilization: the Boston cream pie, the cheesesteak sandwich, and the modern ethnic cleansing paradigm, respectively.
But I digress.
Most winters, Minnesotans require about a month of driving to adjust their speeds and start driving safely. When it gets really cold, they actually tend to drive more aggressively than in good conditions. This leads to an extraordinary number of traffic accidents in the first month of winter. I only required a couple of years to notice this trend, because it is absolutely bizarre to outsiders. Doesn’t self-preservation usually prevent this sort of thing? I’ve talked to some people who’ve moved here from the neighboring states of Wisconsin and the Dakotas, and they report the same observation. (Moreso, they report that the strange behavior seems to begin right at the state boundaries. Interesting.)
Now, I’ve also lived in Michigan, where winters are roughly comparable- more temperate but less predictable. People in Michigan drive like psychopaths most of the time (not a joke), but when it snows they slow down. This is adaptive to the tune of hundreds of lives per year, and hundreds of thousands of dollars. It is also normal- the first time you slide or spin out of control, it is a wake up call. “I’d better slow down,” people think to themselves.
Not so in Minnesota. Here, it takes roughly a full month. That’s four weeks of local news anchors pleading with people to please slow down and be safe.
This winter was a particularly good example, precisely because it was so mild. We had maybe three genuine cold snaps, and within hours of each registered record numbers of crashes. This isn’t like Alabama, where an inch of snow shuts down Montgomery because no one knows what the fluffy white stuff is (maybe Anthrax! >:-O). This is Minnesota, and people do this every year. People who have lived here for generations drive into the same ditches every November.
Well, I’ve previously written a possible explanation for this. Recall that Minnesota is filled with 5 and 1/2 million liberals. “Conservative” here means you think decent folks should have their abortions pre-birth. Scandinavian? More like Scanditardian, amirite. Imagine the smartest folks in San Francisco and Ann Arbor got together and founded a city in the Yukon, made a self-sustaining livable place out of it, and then their descendants regressed to the narcissistic mean, and you’ve got an idea of what the twin cities are like.
On January 8 alone, state troopers reported 654 crashes, and that doesn’t include people who got themselves out of ditches. Amygdalas were clearly hibernating this year. Last night, we had our first snow in weeks and the number-crunchers can’t report a total because the accidents are still piling up.
I’m going to go live in the woods. Maybe a family of wolves will take me in.