winter weather

1. A single inch of snowfall is the paper cut of precipitation events: annoying and inconsequential. It snowed — technically. On the news last night, they had every reporter outside, waiting for snow! FutureAccuDoppler predicted that North Carolina would freeze into Star Wars’ ice planet of Hoth! And what did you get? One. Measly. Inch. Not even enough to cancel your dentist appointment. Stand by for the drill, molars.

2. Now this is more like it. Your lawn? Covered in a smooth white blanket. Running low on milk? No worries! You can still make it to Food Lion, provided that you drive at the pace of a 19th-century wagon train. Want to fashion the snow into a 1:4 scale replica of Fort Dobbs? Maybe next time, pal.

3. Let’s slow down a little bit. I didn’t ask for a dang whiteout. Three inches is the border between oh! and … oh. This is where Northerners try to tell you that they’re much better drivers than you. “Steer into the skid,” they condescendingly advise. Want to turn the tables? Ask them how many times they’ve slid into a ditch up in New Pennsylhio. Watch them fumble for the real answer.

4. At the four-inch level, it’s almost guaranteed that the snow will stick around long enough to eventually become gray, trod-upon, and a little bit sad. Cheer up: It’s also thick enough to sled on. You remembered to buy a sled, didn’t you? DIDN’T YOU? Oh, man. I hope your kid likes zooming down a slope in your soon-to-be-broken laundry basket.

5. You now have the urge to snap — and then post online — a picture of your patio furniture covered in snow. Please resist that urge.

6. You’ve made your point, Mother Nature. But still, it’s mesmerizing, isn’t it? Like, you’re supposed to be doing the dishes, and the flakes are gently falling, and your mouth falls open as you stare out the window. A feeling of calm washes over you. It’s like a kitten exhaling. Ahhhhh. Unless you’re in an airport, in which case, you’re now feeling the exact opposite of that.

7. Embrace surrender. Interstate 40? Closed. Amtrak? Ack. Any thoughts you had of white-knuckling your way to an appointment, or back home, or wherever? Gone. You’re stuck where you are. And that’s fine. People will call from far away to make sure you’re OK. Because they care. You are isolated, yet reconnected with friends and family, all of you in this together. You don’t need to make excuses. Everybody knows you can’t go anywhere. You can finally let go, walk outside, catch flakes on your tongue, make snow angels, build Frosty, crunch, pack, slide, squeal, and smile.

8. If your uncle — you know, that uncle — is here, this is the point where he leans back a little more in the recliner, takes a sip of his Coors Light, and says, sarcastically, “How about that global warming, huh?” And you decide that you’re just in too good a mood to respond.

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Jeremy Markovich is a digital manager, writer, and podcast host at Our State.