the anti-snow day

I’ve been laying in front of a window watching snow fall for two solid hours. I’m supposed to hate snow. When it starts popping up in the forecast I’m supposed to hope it will miraculously pass over us and not make work hectic. There are some professions that operate on the anti-snow day. School is out, kids are home, businesses shut down, roads are dangerous. Like a chain reaction other jobs go into overdrive. Doctors, nurses, emergency workers, road crews, last… and probably least if we’re being honest here… journalists all work extra hours.

Yes, work gets crazy when the forecast picks up. We start hearing phrases like “12 hour shifts” and “cut-ins every half hour”. Our bosses offer hotel rooms between shifts. Thank god for bosses who take care of employees, right? Work gets crazy and there’s a tendency to forget how awesome winter weather is.

Sure, it’s dangerous in some cases. It botches plans. This time around my winter coverage schedule change meant I had to take my dog over to stay with my parents. Winter weather is a hassle, but I’m laying here watching the snow and I just can’t be upset.

I can only think of a few decent snowstorms when I was a growing up. I vaguely remember sledding down the hill in the front yard at my first house. I was younger than 8, but I have no reference point beyond that. I know we usually had at least one snow day off every year of grade school, at least while I was still in Raleigh. I definitely remember the snowstorm in January of 2000 when we missed 10 straight school days. We had 22 inches of snow and endless snow cream. We played with friends in the neighborhood until we became tired of each other and trekked to other neighborhoods to find different friends. When you’re 12 and you live in the South you forget that you’re supposed to become too cold and tired to play outside. You just have to do it, because snow like that is a once in a lifetime thing.

The only other real winter storm I’ve experienced was December 2005. By that time we’d moved to a farm in what I lovingly refer to as the middle of nowhere. I was a 20 minute drive from school and at least that from most of my friends. The storm wasn’t snow, it was ice. I was a senior in high school and I had my own car, which I was shocked to learn means basically nothing when the roads are icy and you’re miles from even a convenience store. I was the only kid still living at home that year. It was just me and my parents when the power went out for five days. You want to know what’s only exciting for about 24 hours when you’re a teenager? No power and no way to get to any of your friends. That storm moved pretty quickly from me watching tv to see if school was canceled to me praying to the electricity gods for the tv to come back on and just tell me I could go back to school. I remember being very cold inside the house. I remember piling on pairs of socks and sweatshirts, and I remember my parents cautioning me in the first few hours of blackout “It’s not really going to be as fun as you think.” I remember all of that and the frustration of being stuck. But mostly I remember how fun it was to see something we so rarely see here; white trees, white ground, frozen creek water, all the things that make the rare big winter storm seem kind of cool and charming.

In a few minutes I’ll be getting ready to head in to work. I don’t know what’s ahead. I don’t know if I’ll be back home in my own bed tonight. I know I’ll be producing cut-ins from the time I get in until Midnight and then I’ll drive home if the roads are safe. None of that bothers me. It’s part of the whole package deal. I actually prefer when work is a little hectic. And frankly, I had my share of snow days and now it’s kind of fun to think of kids coming inside for a break from the snow and camping out in front of the TV for a few minutes to see if school will still be out tomorrow.

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