Snow days, damned if you do…
Some day, I’m going to write a novel that opens with a harried superintendent, up at 4 a.m. wrestling with the hardest decision he or she will ever make. To close or not to close?
Ah, the beloved snow day.
Kids love them. Parents hate them — sometimes. If the call is made and snow doesn’t materialize, parents who raced around trying to get last-minute childcare are livid. But if buckets of snow fall and school isn’t canceled, the same parents curse the decision as they imagine buses turned sideways on icy roads. My own mild-mannered mother never stopped resenting a superintendent who failed to close the schools during an ice storm that caused fender-benders aplenty and left many kids with bruises and broken bones as they tried to walk home.
And then there’s the regional muscle flexing. Those of us in northern climes get a huge chuckle every time those lightweights down South prepare for the Amageddon when a mere dusting is expected. C’mon people! You don’t need to buy enough food to feed a small country just because the forecast calls for two inches. We say things like, “When I was a kid, I walked miles to and from school in several feet of snow, and it was uphill, both ways.”
But who’s laughing now? President Obama showed his Chicago machismo last year when he tut-tutted the residents of the nation’s capitol for closing the schools for a minor snowfall. Flinty, he said. They need to be more flinty.
We’re going to have to try to apply some flinty Chicago toughness to this,” he said. “I’m saying, when it comes to the weather, folks in Washington don’t seem to be able to handle things.”
Hmm. Are they flinty enough now?
In New York, Mayor Bloomberg made the call early yesterday, much to the glee of schoolchildren given the gift of a day off. Of course, there were a few grumblers: It’s 40 degrees and sunny, why’s he shutting down now? But most older folks were happy to have advance warning, like this guy:
“It’s so hard to predict,” said Roderick Romero, 44, a treehouse designer who lives in the East Village. “The last storm was nowhere near as bad as they thought, but it does give us a lot more time to make plans.”
Can I just say, where else but the East Village would you find a treehouse designer? Man, if I had only known, I wouldn’t be writing about snow days right now, but would be sipping a latte in my cliffside aerie.
Back to snow days. We haven’t had a single one this year, and most schools in my part of Massachusetts are simply closing early today. It was the right call, and the kids will take what they can get. Well, some kids will. Remember the “snot-nosed brat” boy who called his superintendent at home last year to complain that school wasn’t canceled? The real storm happened after that phone call. Enjoy!