keep your expectations low and i will rise to the occasion.


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

death of a snow day

its 4:03am. im 11 years old and in 6th grade. i have terrible skin, big thick glasses and im wearing the latest set of spiderman pajama pants. i have only been sleeping for about 3 hours because i was watching the weather channel all night. i have just fumbled around to find my glasses in the dark trying not to arouse any suspicion from my parents in the next room by turning on the light. i woke with no alarm. there was no loud noise or sudden jolt. i just popped awake out of excitement/nervousness and now, without alarming family members, i need to sneak downstairs. each step is a creak, an old floor board attempting to foil my stealth-like, albeit awkward, tip toeing down 13 steps... yeah i counted them. not only were each counted but i have memorized where the noisiest place to step is located. i grapevine down the stairs and calmly sit on the coach facing the tv. its 4:04am.

i turn on the tv... and immediately mute. no sound is needed. i turn the channel to 21. the apple channel for fairfax county. as the tv awakens from its slumber... i squint. i pray. i watch carefully. what i am squinting to see? what am i praying for?

the red bar. at the bottom on the screen. if no bar, all this effort may have been for nothing. if the bar exists, now comes the real drama. the great question. 2 hour delay or total cancellation.

those were the days. each morning, even if we were talking only an inch or even less, that would be my ritual. i would reason that for my safety, the county superintendent should make the decision that it is, without a doubt, the safest for students and teachers alike to just cancel everything and wait til every single square inch of black asphalt is snow/ice free. let me stay home and watch tv and keep me safe! if it gives me an extra set of 24 hours to complete my vocab list, just an added bonus.

in 1996, the blizzard hit and we missed a full week of school. 18 inches in an area that freaks out over a drizzle... pandemonium set in. grocery stores looked like they were selling shelving units as opposed to food products. (btw why do people always buy milk when a big storm is coming and there is a threat that you may lose power?? milk is the first thing to go bad! ill never understand.) you couldnt buy a shovel within 20 miles. you forgot to buy a winter hat? ha! dont bother! the following week was 5 days straight of 2 hour delays. it was by far the best winter ever.

that would be the last significant amount of school id miss until hurricane isabel tore up my college and sent me and 4 fraternity brothers into exile to kentucky (for no reason other than my friend made a good point. he said "have you ever been to kentucky?" i was convinced). and of course, this quick exit in the wake of oncoming danger was done in the aptly-named ford escape. we missed 2 weeks of school. granted a tree fell through my roof in my kitchen. but all was good. its not like i was actually cooking in there anyways... the wawa was right next store! it just meant beer pong would have to be put on hold until the hole was patched. hurricane days and snow days are different in many ways (you cant necessarily "play" in the hurricane) but the end result was still fun!

now as an adult, i still find myself excited about snow. i hear 3-6 inches and think to myself "the roads will be terrible... school's canceled for sure." however, now that means nothing to me. in fact, unless its a foot high and the city is paralyzed, im in a lot of trouble. snow days now are something that makes my life difficult. i dont look forward to waking up to several inches on the ground because that is one more obstacle that i must deal with while trying to get to work.

as young as i can remember, i lived to enjoy a good snow day. now, i find myself still tapping into that flood of emotion but all the while... a ping that grows and grows until i wake in the morning to a siren going off and realize, i have to walk a mile in 4 inches of snow just to get to the metro which may or may not be running. if it is, its probably very delayed. and god forbid if i have to drive and deal with the over-zealous dc legion of bad drivers who either are going way too fast or so slow that they are apparently trying to allow ice to freeze in front of them just for the adrenaline rush of the ever popular "skid and spin". snow now equals frustration, delays, flooding of my basement and not to mention how many times i bite it on the ice on our front stoop.

one day i hope that i can once again enjoy the unadulterated love of a snow day. wake up to 6 inches of white powdery goodness and have a nice stupid grin on my face. walk outside, grab a snowball and pummel my roommate as he sleeps... one day. but until then, i will commiserate will all the other working stiffs as we look at each other either on the metro platform or stuck in traffic all with the same thought...

"fucking snow day."

1 comment:

  1. maybe you'll get to enjoy some snow days this weekend! oh, and you probably wouldn't bite it on the front stoop as often if you wore something other than flip flops ;)