No snow, no problem

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Last winter, I lived in Batesville, a town about three hours away from Berryville. Winter weather was so bad there that my college canceled classes for roughly five days, a landmark for a school that prides itself on academia above all. (This apparently includes safety, as several people broke ankles and legs trying to walk to class on ice during my first couple years at the school.)

I liked the weather then because, as most students do, I enjoyed the get-out-of-class-free card. While most of my assignments remained the same, some of my professors even pushed back or completely eliminated scheduled readings. It was great.

I was a senior, so I cherished being able to sleep in and watch snow fall outside my window. For many days last winter, my main priority was to watch as much television as I could in a 12-hour span without simultaneously losing all my brain cells. I also tried to see how many bags of marshmallows I could devour in this time period; I would tell you the results of this scientific study, but I fear it would reflect poorly on me.

This year, I live in Berryville. We've had a few light flurries and temperatures that certainly feel like an ice storm is underway, but there really hasn't been any winter weather resembling that of last year. Though I was grateful for the days off because of last year's winter storms, I am even more grateful this year that it isn't happening.

My priorities have changed. I have to work anywhere from four to six days a week, and I usually drive the incredibly hilly Highway 62 to do this work. While the drive is wonderful during the fall -- overlooking red and yellow tree tops shaded by a partly overcast, partly blue sky -- I fear driving on that road when there's even minimal ice or snow.

In fact, I did about two months ago. Not realizing the road was icy, I mistakenly braked and then slowly corrected my driving for 20 minutes while blurting out expletives and mentally preparing my will. (If you're wondering, my boyfriend gets the cat and my friend Dora gets my DVD collection.)

Ignoring my personal safety, I also don't really long for days off anymore. In college, I spent many hours mindlessly reading literature and writing essays. I was a great student and could easily respond to questions when asked in class, but I know I checked out for 90 percent of my class meetings during my last year of college. I think it was mostly because everything felt monotonous.

At the job I have now, nothing is monotonous. Sure, I know what I have to do every Monday morning, as with many jobs. But there are hours and hours in-between that I get to make up as I go along. I could begin the day in the office in Berryville looking through police reports and end it interviewing someone I just met 30 minutes away.

I love it. As much as I love snow, I prefer getting to work safely and being able to do my job to the best of my ability.

I have many friends complaining about the low temperatures, saying that we could at least get some winter precipitation out of the deal. I haven't surveyed any of them, but I'm 99 percent sure none of these people have ever driven on Highway 62.

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Samantha Jones is a reporter for the Carroll County News.