When I moved to D.C., having grown up in Boston and just spent the past four winters in the snow capital of Syracuse — where it snowed sideways for six straight months — I was perplexed by the locals’ reaction to winter/snow. These are real things that happen here when white precipitation may fall from the sky:
- “Liberal leave.” It’s now called telework/unscheduled leave, but it essentially means that the federal and local governments say to people, “Hey, it’s snowing. Come in if you feel like it, don’t come in if you don’t feel like it and would rather stay in your pjs and sip cocoa and make snow angels.” People have a lot more ability to work from home now, so I’m assuming that more work actually gets done from home than when I first moved here, and there’s definitely a public safety plus to more people staying off the roads in bad weather, but the concept of “don’t come in, it’s cool” still makes me shake my head.
- Leaving your windshield wipers up. They do this in case of ice, so their wipers won’t be stuck to the windshield. Again, it serves a purpose. It still looks crazy to me.
- Cancelling school/work the night before. Yes, they really do that here. Something about planning ahead and big school districts. Those of you outside D.C. might remember when this happened last year, in a storm dubbed the “Snowquester” here in cheeky weather/wonk speak. It was the “storm” that closed the federal government…only we woke up to bare pavement and just a little drizzle. Not a stellar moment in early closing history (which means the feds are really gun-shy about closing again now). I don’t know who was more embarrassed, the person who made the call for the government, or Jim Cantore, who set up shop on the mall and was left talking about rain with tourists. Anyway, I don’t care about planning ahead. It’s way more fun to have snow day anticipation when you wake up.
Despite all that wackiness, the surprise that I’ve loved? When we get a big storm, this place shuts down and people have fun. When you only get a “big one” storm every few years (or less), you’ve gotta snowman/snow angel/sled the hell out of those flakes. Bonus points for storms that come before Christmas, allowing for Christmas tree + falling snow + Christmas music + drink of choice combos.
And yes, that may be in the cards for tomorrow. May. A chance. Probably not. We may have gotten our winter’s fill with the inch of snow, followed by an inch of sleet, that we got last night. It’s probably too much to ask that the forecast of 3-6 inches (during rush hour, no less!) comes true. I’ll have to work from home anyway, and we’ll probably have cabin fever by mid-afternoon (since you can’t drive in the snow here because no one knows how to).
Still, I say: Bring it on. You can take the girl out of snow country, but you can’t take the love for snow out of the girl. Even better, the snow day call won’t come until tomorrow morning, which will make Teddy’s inevitable wake up at 4:45 a.m. a little easier to handle. Let it snow!