It snowed yesterday and the world as we know it ended.
During the morning commute Lincoln Memorial Drive still wasn't plowed (what?!) and every Milwaukeean I encountered on the road forgot that they live in Milwaukee and have indeed driven in snow before.
I watched a woman decide to not slow down the hill at the top of Lincoln Memorial and gradually move from a slight fishtail to a skid across lanes to a half u-turn up onto the median – all while holding her travel coffee mug in one hand.
Then, mere moments later, she sped past me by the Art Museum, coffee cup still in hand.
That led me to the mess on the Hoan, where the traffic light was out. A lone Milwaukee police officer was parked there, but was not directing traffic. So while all of Bay View sat and waited to move one car at a time, no one was going to Discovery World, no one was turning north off Michigan Street.
Simple traffic management – get out and wave everyone along. Then again, that might have led to a greater disaster.
I thought for sure that by the end of the day Milwaukeeans would've remembered that they've traveled in snow before, but that was not the case. Traversing Dr. Martin Luther King Drive about dinnertime was equally maddening, people driving in both lanes, riding the brake from Center Street to North Avenue.
That's natural in the snow, right? And I must have missed the snow etiquette page where it details stopping in the middle of the street to see if the car on the curb is going to pull out is perfectly acceptable.
There's not a lot to complain about traffic-wise in Milwaukee. It takes about 15 minutes to get anywhere you want to go, no matter what. But I'll never understand why the presence of rain or snow turns everyone's minds to mush.
The local televisions stations devote countless hours to storm watches and trackers and countless dollars to radar equipment. Snow should never be a surprise here, nor should driving in it. But, do me a favor – the next time we get snow, just stay home.
Jim Owczarski is an award-winning sports journalist and comes to Milwaukee by way of the Chicago Sun-Times Media Network.
A three-year Wisconsin resident who has considered Milwaukee a second home for the better part of seven years, he brings to the market experience covering nearly all major and college sports.
To this point in his career, he has been awarded six national Associated Press Sports Editors awards for investigative reporting, feature writing, breaking news and projects. He is also a four-time nominee for the prestigious Peter J. Lisagor Awards for Exemplary Journalism, presented by the Chicago Headline Club, and is a two-time winner for Best Sports Story. He has also won numerous other Illinois Press Association, Illinois Associated Press and Northern Illinois Newspaper Association awards.
Jim's career started in earnest as a North Central College (Naperville, Ill.) senior in 2002 when he received a Richter Fellowship to cover the Chicago White Sox in spring training. He was hired by the Naperville Sun in 2003 and moved on to the Aurora Beacon News in 2007 before joining OnMilwaukee.com.
In that time, he has covered the events, news and personalities that make up the PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Hockey League, NCAA football, baseball and men's and women's basketball as well as boxing, mixed martial arts and various U.S. Olympic teams.
Golf aficionados who venture into Illinois have also read Jim in GOLF Chicago Magazine as well as the Chicago District Golfer and Illinois Golfer magazines.