I returned this weekend from a business trip to a new coating of snow. Not just a dusting, but bona fide snow that glistened in the sun. It continued to snow, and in the evening it was still and soft and beautiful. And early Saturday morning, though I live on, at best, a secondary road, the plows scraped by outside, opening the way to the outside world.
Some of my colleagues were concerned that the snow would put off potential recruits in for visits, or worse, influence those here who are considering offers from warmer climes. But I don’t think so. Our faculty are smart. They know we are not susceptible to major earthquakes, wildfires that take forests and houses and cannot be contained, tsunamis, hurricanes with storm surges that flood out the animal facilities in the basement and ruin their research, or major devastating tornadoes. They know we have enough water for generations to come. And they know that, though it snows, we rely on years of experience in coping with it. All in all, score a few for Cleveland.
In over 30 years there have been only a few days in which I felt I could not get to work, and a few more in which getting home seemed an impossibility. But as a percentage, it’s not bad. Our cities see to it that things keep moving.
Of course, you do need boots. And your tires need to have at least some tread on them. And a parka is nice, even if you do look like the Michelin man. And a scarf is very useful indeed. A dollop of patience and some hard-core common sense also are excellent additions to the mix. And it helps to be in the polite Midwest where we actually take turns at intersections where the lights are out instead of ramming through as they do in my native New York (where the public service TV announcements are about avoiding gridlock). We slow down or stop for the pedestrians inching their way across the street rather than skidding up to them and swearing. And we know that tooling along at a moderate or even slow pace in the snow beats jackrabbit starts plus hard braking any day of the week.
All in all, it is a very livable city, Cleveland. It’s good to be home.