Military, Snowmen, and Washington, DC

After all the snow we had this last week, I ran across this fun photos from the DOD Website, courtesy of the Navy.

A Navy petty officer looks up at inflatable snowman.
151217-N-OI810-080 YOKOSUKA, Japan (Dec. 17, 2015) Electrician’s Mate 2nd Class Godson Bagnabana, from Gadsden, Alabama, erects an inflatable snowman on the flight deck of the U.S. Navy’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). Ronald Reagan provides a combat-ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interests of the U.S. and its allies and partners in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Nathan Burke/Released)

You can find the original here:

Snowzilla, The Aftermath

But the snow was anything but fun for us living in the Washington, DC, area. We had about 22 inches of snow where I was at, and the Federal government shut down for two days (that turns the area into a ghost town).

One of the problems of this area is that it’s a car culture. Everyone assumes you will drive everywhere (this, in spite of encouraging everyone to take public transportation). I’ve been out to some of the developments where construction companies build monster houses. The houses are in a maze of cul-de-sacs. No sidewalks, and pretty much out in the middle of nowhere. As I kid, I could walk to the library, to the grocery, to the drugstore, to the park. Here, I might have to take a car.

The result is that the sidewalks didn’t seem to be much of a priority to get cleared, even when the children went back to school. Mind you, I’m not talking down to pavement, but cleared enough that they were safe to access.

But there seemed to be a disconnect with the cities saying they wanted everyone to not drive so they could clear the roads, and then not realizing that people might walk instead.

I was getting my oil changed on Saturday. This is a full week after Snowzilla. The roads are pretty good, though there are places where we lose lanes. While I waited, I walked to one of the local department stores half a mile away. The sidewalks were buried under huge mountains of snow. I was forced to walk out in the street with cars going 30-50 miles an hour past me. Some of the drivers keep an eye out for pedestrians, but a lot of others are like, “You’re in my way, and I’m not slowing down.”

The good news is that a lot of the snow will melt off during the next week when we’re in the 40s and 50s. The bad news? Flooding.

Yup. That’s Washington, DC.