For 24 solid years, I never laid my hands on a shovel. Growing up on Long Island, that’s quite shameful. Not like I was a spoiled rich princess who refused to get her hands wet and white from icy snow. Neither was I being an un-filial daughter to my very Asian parents. Trust me, I have insisted on helping my mom shovel the driveway to our old house. Going to school, I always took the bus because 1) I did not have a car and 2) I could not drive a car and 3) I was not allowed to drive and own a car. I was a late bloomer, and did not venture to drive until sophomore year of college. And even then, I went to college in the city, lived in my school dormitory amidst Union Square, and walked everywhere. If it snowed terribly, like that one bad winter snowstorm during my senior year, you stayed indoors and waited for the city plower to sweep the streets and push the blackened mushy mass of snow onto the sidewalks. If you had class the next day, you sport your hefty rainboots, leggings, and puffy coat and hop off to campus.
Even when I started medical school back home on Long Island, I was blessed not to deal with the infamous snow problem for 2 whole years. During my first year, I was living the hard life in suburban Stony Brook using my two personal favorite forms of transportation: my feet and the bus. And boy did I hate those blizzard days in January, when I would have to tread through snow up to my knees in the frigid cold, just to make it to the bus stop to campus =/ Even then, if worse came to worst, rain or snow, I had my dad and friends as personal chauffeurs. Last year when I lived at home nearby, I was finally allowed to drive a car independently (yes, I was not entrusted to drive a car by myself for four years). Every day, I commuted to school to study, attend classes, and meet with friends. However, that winter, Long Island was not hit with monstrous storms; it was unseasonally warm and quiet…. until this year, when the whole Northeast got smashed into smithereens by Sandy, and now Nemo!
Mega snowstorm Nemo (I wonder how a catastrophic storm got named after a cutie clownfish?) hit the Northeast this past Friday. It was the first time I had to drive in horrendous weather conditions. As a medical student now with “clinical obligations,” I don’t have the luxury of sleeping in and enjoying a cancelled day anymore. Luckily, my partner and I were released from the Psych wards relatively early at 2pm, after a pizza lunch and Journal Club analysis of the ex-LAPD police officer and killer C.J. Dorner, before the brunt of the storm hit Stony Brook.
By mid-afternoon, the morning flurries were beginning to come down as pearly pellets and the winds were picking up speed. The view from the 10th floor of the hospital overlooking Stony Brook was scenic, even if the panoramic view was just trees and the parking lot.
I drove back home in slowly deteriorating conditions, and scared shitless behind the wheel. I was crawling at 15 mph all the way home, absolutely killing my patience, and yet heightening my vigilance. The day was grayed out by clouds, wintry mix, and coldness. I was on edge the entire trip back, and it totally did not help when one fancy silver sports car kept swerving from side to side. It’s times like these I appreciate driving an almighty SUV!
The aftermath of Nemo, probably at least a solid 2 feet of snow! What is up with Mother Nature’s attitude this year?! Why are you dumping an avalanche on us??!!
Saturday afternoon, I ventured out with my dad to begin the arduous task of digging our cars out. Boy was it a daunting task! Must my very first shoveling experience be status post the biggest blizzard to pummel Eastern Long Island, barely recovered from Hurricane Sandy!
At first, I was happily eager to shovel. I felt like a grown-up kid! Thanks to the wind and my inexperience, flakes of snow flew into my face. Snow got into my boots that only went up to my mid-shins. As the cold snow liquified, my toes froze. They started to hurt and by the early evening hours, my toes became numb to the pain. My sweater gloves got wet, and the coldness seeped to my poor fingers. The battle between me and the snow mountain was a losing one. Not even my wimpy orange shovel could save me my dignity.
To add to my misery, Little Red Riding Hood paid a visit. What a better time to make your monthly debut?!
By 7pm yesterday, two cars cleared from the entrapment of snow, my whole body was numbing and aching to the bone, snot dripping from my nose, and eyes tearing from the cold winds. And by today, my back muscles and limbs were sore, rather reminiscent of my early days playing tennis in high school. The beginning of practice season were wrought with hours of sprinting and training that I would come home crippled and immobilized in pain, which was partly due to how inactive and un-athletic I was. Today was not as bad, but still, I’m more fit than I used to be back in high school, so I should not be sore and achy all over!
Now I wait… and wait… and wait another day… for the nonexistent snow plows to clear out the streets of Suffolk County. When we need you the most, you don’t show up. We got an avalanche of at least 2 feet of snow, and you don’t do your job. Well, I need to do my job as a future health care professional, and you are making it a darn dangerous hurdle if you don’t get your act together Suffolk County…