I Hate Snow

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By: Connor Lenahan

When it became a reality that I would be moving five hours north of my parents to Boston, they understandably were worried. I have Osteogenesis Imperfecta after all. I’m fragile and in a big city. I could see where they were coming from with worrying about me.

So, as is our usual plan, we talked to everyone we could to try and make a plan in case of every scenario. We talked to doctors about looking after my condition in Boston. I talked with Kenn Elmore, Boston University’s Dean of Students, to make sure he knew what I had in case of emergency. We set up a laundry list of things with disability services at BU to make sure my wheelchair would be accommodated.

After countless meetings and regurgitations of the same information an exponentially large amount of times we had a game plan for the first semester at Boston University. Thankfully, this plan worked perfectly. I was safe and happy which in turn made my parents happy and calm. All was looking perfect. Then the snow started.

I’m not sure how we planned for everything that could possibly happen to me in Boston except for snow. This would be like making a family trip to the beach and forgetting bathing suits and two of the three kids behind. We messed up bad.

Nothing to worry about we thought. Boston’s annual snowfall was similar to Waverly, PA. I always handled it well and besides, they would do a good job plowing. We figured it wouldn’t be an issue. Then we got our first snowstorm of the year. I’m not great with numbers, but I believe we got close to 20 inches in a three-day period in mid-December. This is also commonly referred to as “too much fucking snow.”

I learned quickly that the sidewalks at Boston U are actually really well maintained during the winter. They’re far from perfect, but I can safely drive my chair all over east campus, so I don’t complain. But the BU Bridge was insanity.

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The BU Bridge has a three-part walkway to cross the bridge. Twice the crosswalk is across one lane of traffic. Despite some slush buildups on the ramps, these crosswalks are fairly clear. No problems for me. The middle section crosses over four lanes of traffic. Unfortunately, in the middle of the road there is a snowdrift that builds up from cars passing by (two lanes in opposite directions). This was what gave me trouble.

On December 14th I attempted to cross the bridge on my way to the BU Women’s Basketball team’s game against Marist. I got stuck in the snow with my chair at least five times on the bridge. That snowdrift in the middle of the road stood a guesstimated seven inches high. My front wheels are only about four inches at the most, and my back wheels don’t have the best traction when it’s not slushy. Therefore, at one point, I was stuck in the middle of the road. Thankfully there were other people crossing the bridge that helped push me over to the other side safely. In fact I ended up making the game in time and even got to announce that afternoon.

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So I had learned that making my way to west was going to be damn near impossible with any sort of serious snow buildup. I didn’t realize that it would be similarly impossible to head into Kenmore Square on my usual route. It’s hard to explain the traffic pattern one must follow, as there are a confusing amount of roads passing through this intersection, but the directions don’t matter. On December 18th I attempted to cross the street to go to the movies only to get trapped in snow. It took five people and a hell of a lot of improvising to get me across the street. The worst part? To grip my chair I wasn’t wearing gloves. I ended up getting ice burn in the tips of six of my fingers. Not fun.

Thankfully I got to spend some time away from massive Boston snowstorms over the winter break. But now I have to prepare myself on how to handle the snow better.

Realistically I’m going to start looking for alternative transport (Read: Cabs, Uber) around the city when needed and ask disability services for ideas/help. I’m also rescheduling all of my classes to east campus to avoid the bridge at all costs. This is the smart plan.

My preference would be to buy a snowmobile, paint it red and white, and add flamethrowers to the front to get me around.

I’m going with option B. I hate snow.

Connor Lenahan (@ConnorLenahan) is the founder and editor-in-chief of Connorlenahan.com. He is a freshman at Boston University, majoring in journalism. He can be emailed at lenahan@bu.edu

Ambulance photo was taken by Mark Garfinkel, Boston Herald