River stage: 8.34 ft. Rising
Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013
Wintry MixPosted Wednesday, January 4, 2012, at 10:34 AM
We moved to Cape in the summer of 2010 from Los Angeles, California. I had spent 43 of my 50 years living in or near a metropolitan area, with my earlier years in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. Living in Cape, as you might expect, is different though in many refreshing ways. This blog is dedicated to making the transition. With our active local industries, it is not uncommon for employers to search beyond Southeast Missouri for talent and it is my hope, this guide will help others transition successfully.
I grew up in the Northeast and when the weatherperson said wintry mix, s/he was not certain if it would rain or snow that day. In Southeast Missouri, wintry mix means ICE!!! Our local folks are quite mannerly and delicate and favor euphemisms. Don't be deceived when you watch the morning news and wintry mix comes up. You should see yellow caution signs.
Our first wintry mix day, we zoomed out the front door, put the car in reverse, and with Justin Timberlake singing "Sexy Back" courtesy of 101.5, headed off to my daughter's school. It was not until we hit our first hill, and approaching an intersection, that I discovered that wintry mix and cars require a different type of driving. As my foot hit the brake and my car did not slow, I panicked. To clarify, per dictionary.com, panicked is " a sudden overwhelming fear, with or without cause, that produces hysterical or irrational behavior." In my west coast mind, this was an emergency and therefore required the emergency brake. As I discovered shortly, my use of the emergency brake only hastened my encounter with my neighbor's lawn. Another first: I had never driven across someone's lawn before this day.
Wintry mix means go slow. It is not the end of the world. In a town with two regional hospitals, a university, major production facilities, people have to go to work so hiding in your house is not an option. You will want a strategy for how you get from point A to point B. Mount Auburn is probably not your #1 pick unless you are a thrill-seeker. Regardless, people get to where they need to go. Locals are prepared to slide. It is part of the territory. Monitoring your speed, testing your brake, avoiding more challenging commutes are good strategies. We moved here with a very fuel-efficient car, excellent for Los Angeles commutes. It was impotent getting up the hill near my home and as I sat on the side of the road, watching my neighbors with their heavier cars pass me at a steady pace up the incline, I realized that extra weight, aside from my own, was needed.
Disclaimer: I know people with small cars that are able to drive fine. I attribute this to the driver, similar to the fact that an expensive camera does not make you a good photographer. For me, I swapped my Matrix in for an Xterra and though it may be in my mind, I am driving taller and safer.
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Marie is a recent transplant to Cape Girardeau, coming here from Los Angeles. She writes about the transition and a longtime city dwellers perspective of adjusting to small town life.