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MICHEL MARTIN, host:

Finally, have we mentioned it's a little snowy here in Washington, D.C.? Writer Susan Jane Gilman was hoping to find relief from her home in snowy Switzerland when she planned her trip to Washington, D.C. this month. Now, she's found herself knee deep in the white stuff - and irony.

Ms. SUSAN JANE GILMAN (Writer, "Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven"): I live in Geneva, Switzerland. A few weeks ago, I had an ingenious idea: Why not go to Washington in February? I lived in the capital before. D.C. winters are far milder than Switzerland's.

The Swiss unofficial mascot is the Matterhorn: a big, snow-covered Alp. And from November through March, all anyone does in Switzerland is ski or talk about skiing or about snow - everyone, that is, except me. All that Swiss winter sportiness makes me psychotic. I hate snow, and bundling up like a kielbasa in order to strap two planks of wood to my feet and hurtle down a mountain doesn't hold any appeal. I figure I can either go skiing once and spend the rest of my life in traction, or stay home with a book.

But admitting this in Switzerland is heresy. How can you not ski, people cry? And so, this year, I decided to avoid the issue by coming here to nice, flat, temperate Washington. When I heard this week's coming storms described as snowmageddon and snowpocalypse, I rolled my eyes. Come on, people, I thought. How much of this stuff is actually going to fall? Heck, this isn't Switzerland. Enough with the snowverkill, enough with the snowperbole.

Yeah, well, now I'm snowed in in downtown Washington. The blizzard really is epic. Cars are buried everywhere. Businesses are all closed. Tractor-trailers are jackknifed at intersections. Streets that aren't deserted moonscapes are moving in slow-mo. And what am I talking about with all of my friends? Yup, the snow. The capital of the world's greatest superpower has been brought to its knees by the mighty snowflake. And so have I. I've learned there's no escaping mother nature - unless, perhaps, you have skis.

MARTIN: Writer Susan Jane Gilman's memoir, "Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven," is now out in paperback.

And that's our program for today. I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Let's talk more tomorrow.

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