Snow in Manhattan is a funny thing. In case you haven't heard, we've been getting a lot of it. Like several feet. I actually love, love, love walking through the city in the snow. Especially when the streets aren't plowed and I can stroll right down the middle of Broadway at a leisurely pace. Everything is muffled, almost no one is out, and I can point and laugh at Southerners and tourists who don't know how to walk without slipping on icy patches.
Coming from upstate New York, I am extremely used to snow. In fact, a bit too used to it. It's a badge of honor to say things like, "In the Ice Storm of '91, I didn't have power for two weeks!" or "The snowdrifts in the Blizzard of '77 were taller than I am!" Snow is an extremely regular occurrence upstate, and in fact, schools are rarely closed unless we're buried under at least two feet. Or the temperature drops so violently that it's unsafe for children to walk to class. Seriously. In addition to praying for a Snow Day, upstate kids can also pray for a Cold Day.
As a general rule, urban dwellers are complete wimps when it comes to snow. They hear there might be three inches and panic ensues. Everyone rushes to Food Emporium or D'Agostino's or their local bodegas and load up on water and canned goods. It's like Y2K. But somehow, no store owner ever thinks to pre-salt his sidewalk. Get a grip, people! I had to shovel at least three inches from the driveway before school every single morning between November and April. Or, to be honest, my father did. He warmed up the car and started shoveling while I was inside shoveling Cinnamon Toast Crunch into my mouth and carefully moussing up my permed hair. I only sprinted to the semi-warm car after he yelled my name for the third time.
Speaking of hair and winter, I must take a moment to mention the idiocy of my high school building. It was brand-new when I was a freshman, but for some reason, it was designed with an short-ish outdoor breezeway, which was unfortunately right next to my locker. Meaning that I often had to walk on an outdoor sidewalk for about 40 feet in order to get to my next class. (The rumor was that our school building was a duplicate of one that was built in Florida. It also had a giant sickly palm tree in the center atrium.) This outdoor stroll was, of course, a major annoyance on freezing cold upstate days. But it became a catastrophic annoyance when I had gym class first period. Especially when we were in our month-long swimming unit. Ladies, there were ZERO excuses to get out of swimming. If you missed a class for any reason, you had to come after school to make it up. And while we're on the topic of swimming, I must mention that the public middle school also had a pool with mandatory swimming. Now, I don't know this info first-hand because I attended Catholic school, but I've heard tell that you were forced to wear bathing suits provided and laundered by the school. That was disgusting in and of itself, but the really awful part was that they were color-coded according to size. So if you wore a Large, your size would be broadcast to every catty girl, and through them to every crush-worthy boy in school. But I digress. The whole point of this aside was to mention that when I had swimming first period, I would have to walk through the great outdoors with dripping wet hair on the way to my next class. Luckily, I had Spanish second period and our lovable but slightly scatterbrained Senor never really noticed when I took a 15-minute break from class to blow dry my hair in the girls' bathroom.
I was actually dripping wet when I got home from work last night, but it was due to snow, not swimming. Though I did feel like I had to swim through the snow. I trudged through the streets filled with knee-high drifts in my warm puffy coat only to realize that the entire front half of my hair (which was hidden in a deep hood) was wet, and my cell phone (which was hidden deep in my pocket) had snow on it. After blow drying my hair and my phone in my bedroom, I noticed that there was also snow INSIDE my windowsill. So I blow dried (blew dried?) that as well.
In a nutshell, it's been a bad storm. Planes, trains, and most automobiles are not running and many businesses are closed, which almost never happens around here. At the moment, I'm watching a taxi spin its wheels on 45th Street and a cold-looking fellow shovel out his front tire at an intersection on Ninth Avenue. So I'll give those urban wimps full permission to have a major snow freak out. Panic away, friends! Enjoy this holiday period of winter amnesty while it lasts because I will be back to making fun of you next time you leave work early due to a one-inch snowfall.
Like the snow showers, my thoughts in this blog post are both frequent and scattered. Since I have heat, hot water, food, and nowhere to be until 4pm, I'm completely enjoying the entire situation. And that's the lovely, lovely thing about snow that those from warm climates never get to experience. There is nothing cozier than a snow day. It's kind of like fake calling out sick, but you feel fine, have tons of new-found free time, and no one can fault you for falling behind on your work. So as long as I don't have to shovel, drive, or look cute, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!