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Opinion >  Column

Paul Turner: If you hate winter, why not move somewhere warm?

UPDATED: Wed., Feb. 20, 2019

Coco the Miniature Pinscher, age 7, was dressed for her winter outing, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019, along south Lincoln in Spokane. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Coco the Miniature Pinscher, age 7, was dressed for her winter outing, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019, along south Lincoln in Spokane. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

Perhaps you have wondered.

Why don’t the people who hate winter weather in Spokane move to warmer places?

I mean, it’s a free country. Right?

What’s stopping them from waving goodbye to something that, as they have been known to point out, clearly makes them unhappy?

Here are a few theories.

Economic factors: They lack the financial wherewithal to pull up stakes and resettle in Tucson or San Diego.

Fear of scorpions: Winter in Spokane might be scary to some, but, unlike San Antonio or Palm Springs, we don’t have stinging arachnids the size of a farmer’s boot.

You would have to reorganize your life: Some of us have no desire to find a new dentist and hair stylist.

Friends and family are here: That counts for something, right?

Job situation: If you are pleased with your employment circumstances here, you could worry that finding an equally happy situation in the Southwest or wherever might not be easy.

Icicles: You know they are an indictment of your home’s inadequate insulation but you find these frozen spears strangely beautiful.

Snowsuits: You live in hope of seeing a kid in one like the outfit worn by the little brother in “A Christmas Story.”

The fact is, you enjoy complaining about winter: No need to raise your hand. We know who you are. We have ears.

You’re OK with the other three seasons in Spokane: Soon, forest fire smoke will fill the air.

You like your kids’ school: For some parents, that trumps everything.

There are members of your family who revel in winter sports: Moving to Texas would be a problem for the skiers at your house.

Concern that nobody in Arizona or New Mexico would care about your alma mater: “Go who? What?”

Except for the burglars, bicycle thieves, gun-worshipping elected officials, people driving without a license and leering lunkheads, you like the people in the Spokane area: Some things make putting up with occasional iffy driving conditions seem like a good trade.

Tornadoes and hurricanes: In relative terms, bad weather in the Inland Northwest isn’t really all that nightmarish.

Your emotional support network: There are kind, considerate people who care about you in Spokane, even if they’ve about had it with listening to you go on about snow.

Fear of turning into a hypocrite: You know yourself well enough to realize that if you moved to Florida you would suddenly recast yourself as someone who always took winter totally in stride.

No restaurant staffs would know “the usual”: You would miss walking into your favorite lunch place and knowing, without a word, that your order was on its way.

If you moved to Las Vegas or Phoenix, you would have to come up with a whole new set of public personalities and local media darlings who annoy you: On second thought, that would probably be pretty easy.

Your concern that you might miss the thrill of Spokane’s uncontrolled intersections and reading letters to the S-R complaining about studded tires and those moving here from California: I mean, besides missing certain people.

Your animal friends: Yes, they have critters elsewhere. But do they have moose and marmots?

Change can be (income) taxing: Some states don’t try to pay for everything with sales taxes.

I’m not suggesting that you are in poor shape: But let’s face it, winter apparel can be forgiving.

Given that millions of Americans are staggeringly ignorant about geography: You might have to resign yourself to spending a fair amount of time explaining that Spokane is nowhere near Seattle and not all of Washington is rainy.

Spokane is home: For better or black ice.

Who will carry on the tradition?

Maybe you are old enough to remember when people used to say “If we can put a man on the moon, it seems like we ought to be able to …”

If so, you might have noticed that people don’t say that much anymore. Which, in a way, is too bad.

But it makes me wonder. What would be the perfect 2019 way to complete that lament?

I’ll propose three. Then you can take it from there.

If we can put a man on the moon, it seems like we ought to be able to … plow side streets quicker.

… put more child-abusing priests in jail.

… fast-forward to the NCAA tournament.

Inland Northwest accent

We’ve been over this time and again. Does our region have a distinctive accent? Nah, not really.

But recently it came to my attention that some newcomers here mistake the accents of certain longtime residents as homegrown when, in fact, their speech patterns were brought here from Maine, New Jersey, Georgia or wherever.

So let me ask you this. If you have an accent acquired in another part of the country, have you ever encountered a newcomer to our neck of the woods who thought that’s how Inland Northwesterners sound?

Columnist Paul Turner can be reached by email at

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