Friday, December 3, 2010

Snow and Fear

Royal Cavalry as seen Tromping Through Hyde Park in the Snow

I left Copenhagen in the snow and cold, and arrived at Stansted airport in the snow and cold.  The temperature was quite similar, as was the precipitation.

But everything else was different.  In Copenhagen, people were driving, walking, and even riding bikes on top of icy snowpack.  Here, quite a few people are staying home from work, shopping, and life.  Even estate agents are less busy due to people not wanting to brave the weather.

I thought about this yesterday while trekking through Hyde Park for a meeting at the chapel on Exhibition Road.  Why were so few in the temporary Christmas-themed amusement park near Hyde Park corner, and so few bikers out and about?  The Danes proved that things need not shut down in the cold and snow.  Some of the difference at least in DC versus, say, Salt Lake City (which never shuts down - between 3rd grade through the completion of law school, I had only one day off due to inclement weather) is infrastructure - DC did not have enough snow plows.

Yet people were not clearing the snow in Copenhagen.  It stuck and froze over.  Here, even though the snow is not really sticking on the streets and pavements, there is gravel and ice to combat possible ice.  

The difference, I determined, must lay in the psychology.  If people fear the snow and ice, they will stay home.  If they accept it as a way of life and believe themselves brave enough to manage spins and losing a bit of control on ice, they will brave the weather.

How does one combat fear of the cold?  Perhaps I should ponder that during my next trek through Hyde Park.

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