Snowpocalypse - Joel Hall

It seems like I have been running away from snow for my entire life, but, somehow, it always seems to find me.

Having spent the elementary-school portion of my childhood in central Pennsylvania, I am well acquainted with the white stuff. I still have nightmares of being swallowed alive by the big, blue full-body cast that was my winter snow suit.

Being that I lived within a mile or so of the school, I was a walker, but that mile was the toughest trek imaginable for a child carrying four layers of winter clothing, a backpack, and a violin case.

Trudging through waist-deep snow, I would make my way through the icy conditions, using my violin case to shield snowballs thrown by all the bullies it attracted.

The massive amounts of snow did make for some interesting afternoons, but it also made for plenty of slips and falls, occasional humiliation from yellow snowballs, and occasional concussions from snowballs with rock-filled centers (yes, boys are stupid and cruel).

In 1993, when I was in the fifth grade, most of the country was blanketed by massive amounts of snow. After State College, Pa., was hit with about 10 feet of snow, it seemed my parents were ready to leave, because the immediate summer following the Blizzard of '93, we moved to North Carolina.

We eventually moved to Virginia Beach, Va., where hurricanes and nor'easters are more of a threat than snow. However, Virginia is a state where people often think they are farther south than they really are, and are completely unprepared for the snowstorms that occasionally come through.

When it does snow, a few guys in trucks throw sand at the problem and then pray for the best.

When I had a chance to go to college, I thought I would go some place balmier by going to Atlanta. From 2000 to 2004, it may have snowed once or twice in Atlanta and everything seemed right with the world.

When I graduated, I decided to teach English in Japan for a couple of years, and tried to find even more-tropical conditions by putting in a bid to teach in Okinawa. However, the Japanese government completely ignored my request, and sent me north to Yamagata Prefecture, one of the snowiest, coldest places on the main island.

For four months out of the year, I was buried in snow that would often come up past my windows, making driving to work seem more like Olympic bobsledding.

After two years in Japan, I decided to call it quits and come back to Georgia, where I fell in love with the weather the first time. The last two months, however, have led me to believe that, somehow, the world has been tipped off its axis and Georgia is no longer on the same latitude it once was.

All this winter, crazy storms have slammed the state every other Friday like clockwork. It would be great if they fell on a Tuesday or a Wednesday, but being that the snow always seems to hit Georgia on the weekend, everybody is on the road at the same time and nobody knows what they are doing.

It seems like people start slamming into guardrails and driving erratically at the sign of the first snowflake.

If things keep going the way they are in Georgia, I may have to go back into my closet and find that old, blue snowsuit that I've been trying to forget about since childhood.

Joel Hall covers government and politics for the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached via e-mail at jhall@news-daily.com.