Disclaimer: The personalities depicted in this piece are in no way intended to represent those North Carolinians who live west of Guilford County. Y'all know what to do when it snows. Respect.
As a born-and-raised non-southerner (ordinarily I identify as a northerner, but my NY-state-hailing S.O. insists that Maryland is not terribly "north"), I can say with certainty that the citizens of North Carolina are good at a lot of things. And as an individual who went to high school and college here, and followed all the rites of passage to adulthood, I'd like to say I've learned a thing or two about what makes Cackalacky tick.
No matter what anyone tells you, we're cultured folks. We're musicians, poets, small business owners, passionate political activists and incredible chefs. We drink our whiskey neat. We can sweat out a 105-degree day like it's just another recess in grade school, and we'll look good doing it. From Bull City to the beach, there's nothing quite like North Carolina and the minds of the people who keep our state moving forward.
But at this time of the year -- post-Christmastime, when the glimmer of spring is still decades away -- we're reminded of that one force of nature that humbles us: snow. Here's how we cope.
Step 1: Prepare.
The weather's wrath is still a day or two away, but everyone from talk radio hosts to our governor has declared the state of emergency that is upon us. Buckle the f*** up. No one is exactly sure how long or how bad this particular storm will be, but read my lips: It does not matter. One trip to Harris Teeter will demonstrate exactly how dire the situation could be. There are no bread, milk or eggs left. Every line is at least eight carts long and every person in attendance is wearing an expression of either a confused dread or a delirious high, the latter party simply grateful that they remembered the multiple 24-packs of Rolling Rock before they hit the checkout.
Step 2: Wait and isolate.
Shrouded in blankets, it's time for Netflix and anticipation. With your shades fully open, you're closely monitoring the skies. Despite the fact that it's a full six hours after predictions said something was supposed to start falling, there's still nothing happening. But you know in your heart that it is definitely the very moment that North Carolina will shut down, and everyone else knows it too, so you wait and prepare to do absolutely nothing for at least the next 48 hours. Because snow.
Step 3: Freak out/become reacquainted with snow.
IT'S HAPPENING OH MY GOD Y'ALL IT IS HAPPENING. Everyone is one part relieved beyond what words can possibly express because we are now justified in doing nothing for the past day and one part internally sobbing because there is something so magical about snow...and even though, yes, it tends to snow at least once every year around here, it still feels like something entirely new and we are just so #blessed. Girls on college campuses are donning bikinis and snapchatting excursions in freshly-fallen flakes; friends are taking shots and readying the movie marathons; out-of-state moms are making phone calls to make sure we're all right so far. For roughly two to three hours, all is right with the world even though 99% of what is currently happening is not normal behavior. It's OK though; it's snowing.
Step 4: Assess the damage.
Those of us who live within walking distance to Walmart and/or the ABC are doing alright; we've figured out the actual amount of clothes required to make the trip for more supplies. However those of us in the country are 100% screwed on account of the fact that we made little to no preparation for the stuff that's all over the ground right now. Oh, and also this is, like, 2/3 ice. The sun has shown its face and everything that once resembled snow is now gone and we can't even make snow-people. This sucks, guys. We're already drunk; let's just keep it up and go run around outside every half hour to keep our spirits up.
Step 5: Go back to work/pray for more snow.
There is a very unclear period within North Carolina post-snow season in which we wonder A) how much time is supposed to pass before we start living our normal lives again, and B) how we're actually supposed to function if it is indeed that time to start living normal lives. Like, what? There is still only one lane plowed on the major road outside our homes, and we're not about to risk our lives driving to work -- because you know there's always the possibility of that one guy who thinks icy roads equals extra-super-fun joyrides in his Challenger. Yeah, someone come pick me up. How do people do this? It's gonna be one long, painful journey back to the way things were. More hot chocolate. Stat.