This post was originally titled, “Hibernation,” and was going to be a treatise on staying in during winter in order to avoid the cold and snow. I will admit it upfront: I do not like driving in the snow. It’s scary and can be stressful, and my little Honda Civic feels like a deathtrap. I dread having to drive anywhere: work, the grocery store, my condo. Still, we have only had two big snowfalls this winter, and if I wasn’t traumatized enough after witnessing a woman have to drive through a red light because she couldn’t stop, or after almost crashing into a railing over 294 because I was sliding, seeing cars end up in ditches, or having to–this is the worst–clean my car in the middle of a raging blizzard, I think I will be just fine. Here’s the thing: some really amazing things have happened to me during crazy snowstorms.
In 2000, my mom took me shopping on a day so snowy and crazy that the mall closed early, but not before I found the perfect little black dress for a party I was invited to by my crush.
In 1999, I went on a road trip with my sister and two cousins to Indianapolis for a Backstreet Boys concert (yeah, yeah, hilarious). We stayed there two nights. On the second night, the weather was insane, but we still drove to the drive through liquor store to get some beers. That was an awesome trip. It’s one of those things that I can’t believe we did, especially in those conditions. It makes for a great memory, though.
In 2009, my niece Juliana was born. It snowed that night. Having been born in August, I can maybe brag that it was sunny. I think snow makes for a cooler birth story.
In 1999, there was a snowstorm so bad that it forced everyone to stay in. My family and I hung out in the basement, played mahjong, and drank. Then, once the snow stopped and the alley and streets were clear enough so that we could go somewhere (and the piled up snow was taller than I was), we went shopping. We were carefree and simply enjoying each other’s company.
In elementary school, we used to play on the snow mounds made by the snowplows at the end of the parking lot during recess.
In 1994, I have this distinct memory of having walked in snow that was up to my crotch. I was wearing my school uniform: red plaid skirt, white tights, and boots. It was a wild thing for me to do, but a much more efficient way to get into the car versus walking around the snow.
For many years, the Zoo Lights Festival at Lincoln Park Zoo was something I loved to visit. Hanging out at the zoo, in the city, at night. Having hot cocoa and snuggling with someone you like or love. Bundled up in a great jacket, wrapped in a scarf, wearing gloves and earmuffs.
I was tickled to see people sledding and even skiing in a park by my parents’ house the day after the most recent snowfall. What a reward to enjoy the snow with your family and friends after a dreadful commute the day before.
I dread winter, I worry about driving in the snow, but I love winter in Chicago. I love that a little snow doesn’t stop us. I love how my snot freezes up when its below zero. I love sweaters and my puffy jackets and my wool coats. I love the feeling of turning off my car after driving through snowfall. I love snowmen and snowladies and snowpants.
So, let it snow, Chicago. Let it snow. Just try to snow on days or times when I don’t absolutely need to drive. And be kind to Lake Michigan and Lake Shore Drive.