This morning it is here. A fluffy, white duvet covering the roofs and fire escapes outside my window.
Its coming has been reported for days, the Snowmageddon stacking 15 inches of the cold and wet stuff. Today, subways are crammed because driving seems suited only for the boldest. Schools and offices keep closed, flights are cancelled. I know this, as one of those who called people on the phone informing about cancellations: “Yes, class is cancelled due to the snow. We’ll send out an email with all the information. Have a nice snow day, sir.” And even though cancellations really aren’t happy news, the joy of playing hooky keeps putting an immature grin on one’s face.
Media is basking in the state of emergency. Not because snow is all that rare in New York. I start to get it now. New Yorkers just love making a happening out of things. Whether it’s a sports events, extreme weather or a large rodent named Chuck. The phenomena will be baptized, acknowledged and institutionalized, so we can all experience Super-bowl, Snowmageddon, Groundhog Day and whatnot. And why not? Lord knows there are quite enough of those anonymous everydays that grab you by the night shirt, haul your ass through the dreary old routine and drop you back in bed like you’re a carcass, now one day older.
Today, we’ve got ourselves a grand-slam snow day. With all the fittings. The saggy long johns come out of the drawer. Wool next to the skin, then some other layers, finished off with a wind-stopping, waterproof outer shell. I know the drill. I grew up in frigging Winter Wonderland.
Our nanny used to send us kids outdoors in this kind of weather. “Don’t come back in until you have some color in your cheeks,” she told us. In her opinion, my sisters and I always fell through as too skinny and too pale.
We would go play outdoors until snot caked on our upper lips and our boots and mittens were soaked and heavy. Finally back home, we’d get hot chocolate; the real deal that formed a yucky skin on the top if you didn’t drink it fast enough.
Some things you learn as a kid just roll off like taking water to Gore-Tex. Other stuff sticks like poo in wet snow. Now I’m one of them Pavlov’s dogs demonstrating conditional reflexes: Without a second thought, I step outside in the winter storm and walk fifteen blocks to go about my errands. Subway is not an option today. I need to do this to earn my rosy cheeks and hot chocolate.
Walking through Manhattan during Snowmageddon feels like being inside one of those snow-globes from the souvenirs’ shops. The wind throws the snowflakes in all directions, leaving people gasping for breath and wiping at the wet speed stripes that run all the way from their noses to their ears. Umbrellas look like broken birds’ wings, flopping and flapping to no avail.
A bank employee is standing by the office window, filming the blizzard outside with his video-camera. People are coming out of their offices to wrestle a bit with nature during lunchtime instead of doing the obvious, intelligent thing and order in. I rest my case; People love a smashing state of emergency.
Two hours later it’s time to run an inventory of the damages: Melted snow keeps seeping in from two fronts; down the neck and into the boots. Hair and makeup is a mess. I can’t feel my fingertips. I step by Gigi’s and pick up Split-pea soup and cannoli. Anything missing before I scurry home to hibernate? Like hot chocolate? Nah. Chocolate, schmuckolate. I’m a grown woman, and I got plenty of rosy in my cheeks. I’m no longer skinny either. I need a bottle of red.
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