The South Has Nothing On San Francisco
Bill Quick

Why the South Fell Apart in the Snow

I get it. Two inches of snow shuts down major metropolitan areas (not just Atlanta). It’s funny! It’s funny because when it snows two inches where you live, it’s nothing, you might as well be in West Palm Beach. Southerners lose their shit, though! Hilarious.

It’s fine if that’s how you want to process what happened yesterday and today. But if you do, you are wrong, and you are an asshole.

Let’s talk for a second about exactly what happened down here, instead of just looking at pictures of abandoned cars and assuming that Southerners fear snow the way Encino Man feared fire.

I can’t speak for Atlanta, although Conor Sen does a great job breaking down what happened there over at The Atlantic. But I can speak for what happened here in Birmingham, my home for the last three years and source of lots of pictures, like this one, that are confounding/amusing you on Twitter this morning:

At least you guys see some snow every five years or so  San Francisco never sees any snow.  We’re kinda famous for it, actually.  And you know what else we’re famous for:

These things:

That’s right. Great, huge, high hills all over the place. Now imagine all that pretty scenery covered with an inch of ice, or three or four inches of packed snow.

Never happen unless the whole Fallen Angels scenario comes to pass, but I fantasize about it all the time.

And if it does happen, I’ll be right there laughing my ass off. Does that make me an asshole? Maybe. But I don’t care.

Here’s a video. Imagine that street covered with ice:

BTW, SF bike messengers really are a breed apart.  No, I don’t have a hope in hell of ever making that hill.  I know, I’ve tried it.  Didn’t even make it a quarter of the way before pulling over to have a heart attack.

Bill Quick

About Bill Quick

I am a small-l libertarian. My primary concern is to increase individual liberty as much as possible in the face of statist efforts to restrict it from both the right and the left. If I had to sum up my beliefs as concisely as possible, I would say, "Stay out of my wallet and my bedroom," "your liberty stops at my nose," and "don't tread on me." I will believe that things are taking a turn for the better in America when married gays are able to, and do, maintain large arsenals of automatic weapons, and tax collectors are, and do, not.


The South Has Nothing On San Francisco — 5 Comments

  1. Reading the comments at gizmodo remind of the typical yankee* dumbass that moves down south. Most assume they are great drivers and southerners are just clueless in the snow. The first time they drive on a sheet of ice they discover the difference in snow and ice. Snow is relatively easy to drive on and ice is not. Snow covered ice offers a fair amount of traction that ice covered ice doesn’t.

    The truth is most southerners are not going to do well in snow and ice as it requires practice, like so many other things in life. And practice is hard to come by.

    The only problem I have driving is the other people that get in the way. I think it is fun, but then I’m an exceptional driver (yes, I really am). The first front wheel drive car I owned I had to trade for the day with my Mom’s rear driver. The front wheel drive just wasn’t as much fun as the big heavy rear wheel drive Caddy…

    *there not all dumbasses, probably not even most are, but the ones that are do “stick out”

    • You’ve summed it up pretty well. Lack of practice plus bare ice yields a mess every few years. I’ve driven sports cars almost my whole adult life, and have not owned a car without manual transmission since 1977, but I don’t get out in southern icy conditions when they occur.

      Even if I manage to hold it together (which I have the few times I had to try), other drivers in larger cars with less focus on actual driving technique are a hazard. It’s a helpless feeling to watch a hapless driver in a big car with slick tires sliding towards you out of control.

      Even worse are the ones who think “4 wheel drive” = “traction no matter what”. Bare ice doesn’t really care how many of your wheels are attached to a drive train.

      • Yea, the 4wd piloted by idiots are the most fun to watch. I have a 4wd Suburban with locking rear axle that goes pretty good, but I really think FWD with traction control is about as good as it gets. And with ABS brakes it’s just no fun anymore…

  2. I was doing a DSS class in DC back in ’99 when they had a serious(4″ of snow) storm during the night. I got up the next morning to go out to Springfield for class. Saw some really stupid things on I-95 – drivers going past me at ~60mph and I could see the front wheels hydroplaning as they went by. Anyhow I got off the highway and took the road down to our building. Stopped behind traffic at the bottom of a hill waiting for the light to change. Great big jacked-up, 4-wheel-drive truck in front of me. Light changed and I watched that truck spin all four tires and slowly rotate sideways behind the other cars spinning out as they tried to go through the intersection. I very carefully applied the gas and worked my way around the mess in that intersection and went up the hill. Got to class and finally got stopped in the parking lot because my front-end spoiler was plowing and packing the now in front of the car. Instructor and I were the only ones who came in, and he drove a 4-wheel drive Ford F-250…
    Oh, yeah, I was driving an ’89 Ford Merkur with about four inches of ground clearance and 10″ wide 60 series tires, heh, heh, heh. .