The call came late. Later than usual anyway. Historically the phone rings at 5:30 a.m. on the dot. Today was 5:56. This new administration is sloppy. And seriously, a two-hour delay? There’s a quarter inch of snow on the street. “You don’t know what it’s like in the mountains, Dad. It might be really dangerous.” This is Sophie, but not right now. Right now, she’s asleep. But she says this every other time I complain to her about school closures for a dusting of snow. She’s right of course. The school district is huge. Most of it on a low-lying plane. Rolling hills, sure, but no real elevation. And one gerrymandering arm, extending to the top of South Mountain. School closes frequently.
When I was a senior in high school, we had a snowy evening. After a few inches fell, my friend Scott and I went out sledding. Four inches, five inches. It was getting late, or late for a school night anyway. Scott and I packed it in. We knew our alarms would ring early the next day. Now, schools often cancel the night before. Before any snow falls, sometimes with temperatures still in the high thirties. Worries over litigation? Or is it our new found coddling of children. Possibly the same set of fears that lead cops to pick up eight-year-olds walking home from the corner store. Free-ranging children, their parents called them. It’s telling how we now have a term for kids being self-sufficient.
My work, I think, follows the school district. If the kids get off, so do I. At least that’s my recollection from last year. Although I could easily make it to work—I can walk if the roads are slick—I decided to drink an extra cup of coffee and write. The weekend felt too short, holiday shopping, entertaining and the requisite cleaning that accompanies that, the high school Christmas concert, and a party Saturday night, seventy miles away. There was no down time. No chill in our weekend. Best to eke out a bit more. Plus, few things in life feel so perfect as sitting on a couch, drinking coffee, and looking out over a snowy yard—even if the lawn is poking up through the snow.
Weather forecasting has come a long way since the seventies. The night Scott and I bailed on our sledding, we got three feet of snow. Forty years ago, we never knew when the snow would stop or how many inches would fall. Last night’s forecast was so accurate, it seems like it was made in hindsight. Does that take the fun away? My kids went to bed certain they would have a two-hour delay this morning. If the forecast says snow, it’s going to snow. And if it snows, no matter how little, there’s always a delay. They miss out on the experience of waking up at eight o’clock, confused. Wondering if their parents forgot to set an alarm.
Regardless. I’ll take the delay. We’ll all be in a better mood tonight. The kids got extra sleep, and I added two hours to my weekend.