I hit the gym on Monday and overheard several locker room ladies making fun of the D.C. area for freaking out in the face of snow. "I'm moving to Canada," declared one. "They know how to handle it." And then this morning the local news radio station had a whole spot dedicated to how apparently Jimmy Fallon mocked us on his show the other night about our shutdown in the face of Monday night's snowstorm. And everywhere you go you hear former New Englanders complaining about how locals have no idea how to drive in snowy weather.
And you know what, guys? You are totally right. We don't. That's because asking a Marylander to navigate a blizzard is like asking the guy who took a few classes in French last year to hold a conversation with a native Parisian. We learned a little bit a year ago and we haven't had to use that information since. We can remember a couple words and phrases but otherwise we may as well be starting from square one. Sure, if we made the permanent move to Paris, we'd jump right in there, but why bother when your next door neighbor speaks Spanish anyway?
I hope this extended metaphor has properly illustrated why the D.C. area tends to shut down the roads in the face of the smallest snowstorm. And I'll tell you another thing: I AM NOT ASHAMED. Here is why:
- There is a sweet, sweet joy in these simple words: "All public and private schools are CLOSED today due to inclement weather." Oh, in your Massachusetts hometown they NEVER close school for snow? How sad for you!
- And sometimes, when we are VERY lucky, even adults get a snow day from our jobs. I'm sure you South Dakotans are a hardy people but I'm also sure your winters aren't half so fraught with hope.
- Ah, yes, I've heard all about the eight feet of snow they're dealing with up north. Crazy! People are stuck in their homes! That never happens here at the Mason-Dixon line! EXACTLY. It is a rare, rare thing for us to saddle snow with real fear. Even in the impending "blizzard" we know we'll at the very least be able to get out of the house for supplies within a day or two. No problem!
- And then of course, there is the gentleness of it all. The feeling. Snow here is special. It's just a few inches deep, easily waded with my high winter boots, and the snowflakes fall on my black coat and settle there like stars, and I am so excited because it's SNOWING! And how often does it do that? NOT VERY OFTEN!
So yes. You may keep your snow tires and your parkas and your stoicism and your cynicism and your schools that never close and your events that never cancel and your bah-humbugs and your pooh-poohs in the face of snow. I for one am glad to live in a city that reacts to snow like it's never seen the stuff before. It is glittery magic and I won't hear another thing about it!