Many workers welcome the snow, or at least tolerate it for a while


Maybe all the snow-phobics stayed home.

Or maybe Baltimoreans just chose to shrug off the Phase-1 Snow Panic declared by the news media.

Whatever, commuters who made it to downtown Baltimore today seemed to be taking in stride the region's first significant snowfall since Dec. 27, 1990.

"I love it," said Stuart Matthai, 30, of Mount Washington, as he stood in front of the Maryland National Bank building on North Calvert Street waiting for a shuttle bus to take him the rest of the way to work.

"Big skier," said Mr. Matthai, who seemed to be conserving his words as the flakes swirled around him. "Going skiing tomorrow."

Any trouble driving downtown, Mr. Matthai?

"Nope. Got a Jeep," he said.

Mike Downey of Baltimore was less enthusiastic about the snow as it piled up on the shoulders of his topcoat. He was waiting gamely, if a bit forlornly, for a bus to take him from Calvert and Lexington streets to his job at Woodward and Lothrop in White Marsh.

"I don't like it," he said. "It causes too many problems."

Mr. Downey already had taken a bus and the subway to get this far, and his next bus ride seemed to be a victim of the weather.

"It looks like I'm going to have to take a taxi," he said.

Just up the street, Deputy Sheriff Paul W. Sharpley Sr., 59, was taking it all in stride as he ushered people into the Clarence Mitchell Jr. Courthouse.

"Weather doesn't bother me," he said. "I was a police officer for 30 years before coming on this job." He remembered walking a beat in the snow on Pennsylvania Avenue in Western District.

"This is nothing," he said.

It didn't bother Jennifer L. Cuttino either.

Miss Cuttino is a sales representative whose toasty desk is right beside a heating vent at Signet Bank. She thought so little about the snow forecasts last night she didn't even look out her window until after her shower this morning.

When she did, she said, "I knew I was going to be late." She was, by 15 minutes. No big deal.

"I love snow. It adds a little deviation from the normal life," she said.

And the commute home? No problemo.

"I don't have any scheduled appointments, so I'm not in any hurry," Miss Cuttino said.

The snow couldn't even bring a frown to John Charles, assistant manager at the Janda Florist shop at 123 E. Fayette St., whose business was on the cusp of one of its busiest days, Valentine's Day, tomorrow.

"We're happy," he said. "As long as we keep the phone going."

The shop had three- or four 4-wheel drive delivery trucks on the road today, and several people making nearby deliveries on foot.

"It'll blow over," Mr. Charles said. "It always does."

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