As many of us were reminded by the weather this past week, winter in Central New York can be a real pain sometimes.
Low temperatures and snow can cause all kinds of problems for the average person. When it is cold outside your heating bill goes up, your pipes could freeze and you have to bundle up every time you go outside to avoid frostbite, hypothermia or just shivering and feeling uncomfortable.
Snow and ice create even more problems. They make it dangerous to walk places, they make it dangerous to drive your car, they cause accidents, they cause slow moving traffic, they delay flights and they get your clothes wet.
And those are just the short-term effects. Snow can pile up on your roof and cause damage, freezing and thawing causes potholes and hurts crops and the salt that we drop in the streets rots the underside of our cars.
Of course there are the pleasures of wintertime too, such as skiing, riding snowmobiles, ice skating or even just enjoying the picturesque scenes created by light snow falling.
But in my opinion, if you weight those fun, enjoyable parts of the season against the dangerous and costly negative aspects, there is little reason to choose to live in a place like Central New York. Yet so many do, and so many choose year-after-year not to leave.
I think this is because enduring the annual winter hardships has become ingrained in our culture. People are so used to it, they don’t even think about it anymore. In fact, whenever there are schools closing in Texas or North Carolina over a few inches of snow, many of us will hold our heads high and say “pshh, that’s it?” Yet, when we are trying to drive home with a few inches of fresh snow on the road and we can only go 30 mph, we grumble about the lousy winter. There’s kind of a double standard to it.
Also, I suppose the people who say having four seasons gives us variety and better perspective have a good point. If you lived in San Diego where it is in the 80s almost year-round, wouldn’t you get tired of the same weather over and over?
Maybe I’ll try living in a more tropical climate one day, but for now I’m happy to be one of the shivering Central New Yorkers thinking about what I’m going to do this summer.
Joe Genco is the editor of the Skaneateles Press. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.