Monday, February 09, 2009

Snow Day - the Horror

I lived one year about thirty years ago in Oxford, England. I recall one day of short-lived snow - some of it might have survived a day at the top of Shotover Hill. So I do understand the difficulties and reasonable (by my eastern Canadian standards) snowfall could visit on a location unprepared. (I also spent a day and a half watching San Antonio, Texas close down during what I thought of as a small sprinkling of snow.)
So this column by Victoria Coren seemed quite entertaining (h/t Flesh is Grass).
Every morning last week, we woke to see the landscape transformed: trees, fields, streets, cars all hidden under a thick, white blanket of rage.

Here's a smattering of the headlines that drifted our way. FURY OVER SCHOOL CLOSURES. FURY AS RUBBISH PILES UP. PARENTS PROTEST AS SCHOOLS SHUT AGAIN. And a seductive choice from my local gazette: WHERE ARE THE ROAD GRITTERS?


We could build a wonky snowman, fashion skis out of old tea-trays and clear spaces in the ice to leave birdseed. If you don't want to do that stuff with your children, why the hell did you bother having them? Was it only to give you something to complain about at dinner parties?

She reflects a little more broadly.
Because none of the other stuff really matters, properly, at all.

A six-inch overnight snowfall can teach the same lesson, but it's beautiful. It isn't any kind of tragedy that forces you to stop, just a dodgy transport service and a few closed schools. And, in the gap left by commuting-meeting-emailing-filing, you're staring at a wonderland, not phoning an undertaker.

If it takes an absent train-driver, road-gritter or schoolteacher to make you stop the carousel for a couple of days, you're a fool to be angry rather than grateful. Everything can wait, even maths tests. Hurray for learning that lesson while building a snowman! Don't wait for it to be something worse.

Of course here in snow-land there is a concept called 'Snow Day' There is even a movie based on the idea. On these days children prevail, school is closed, and the lives of the parents have to adapt even more. For all the impositions on people, it is a concept that is more light than dark. We are accustomed to being taken out of rhythm with some frequency each year.


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