It was the first day of work at my new job in my new city, Boston. Winter, 1989.
I woke up ready. New suit. New shoes. New city. New job. I woke up at 6 am, looked out my window, fully aware of what day it was (1st day of new job!), made sure I wasn’t imagining the foot of snow on the ground, and climbed back into bed. When I finally got up around 9 am, it was to answer the phone.
My new boss. “Where are you? Wasn’t today supposed to be your first day?”
I have no idea how I responded. Twenty minutes later, I was showered, blown dry, dressed and ready to clear the snow off of my car, before I anxiously drove to my new job and somehow managed to hold onto my dignity.
My assumption had been that a foot of snow meant no work. I was naive about work, having only had one full time job that I left after 18 months to move to Boston to pursue the job I was starting that day, but that wasn’t the reason I assumed work was called off.
The reason? I grew up in Baltimore. If there were three inches of snow on the ground, school was called off, the streets were a danger zone, and we hung out with our neighbors, sometimes trying to make snowmen out of the tiny bit of snow that had fallen. If we had an unusual storm and got a foot of snow, normal life was put on hold. The government closed down, people worked at home or took the day off, nobody except the reckless drove their cars.
I may be exaggerating a little bit, but that’s the way it seemed to me when I was a kid. And we did miss school any time we had more snow than a dusting. The way Baltimoreans respond to snow differs from the way Bostonians do. Usually, up North, we go about our business if there is a foot of snow, sometimes even if there are two feet of snow, as long as the plows are out. And the plows are always out.
This memory of my first day at that new job came back to me today as I was driving and listening to the weather reports for the mid-Atlantic states, including my hometown of Baltimore. They are about to get hit with a snowstorm like they haven’t seen in forever. One report I heard said it was expected to be the worst snowstorm in the Baltimore/Washington area in 90 years.
I feel for those who live there. I hope that if they get the expected storm that it is the only storm of that magnitude they have to live through this winter.
Up here in the Boston area, everybody I know is suffering from Post-Traumatic stress, resulting from the winter of 2015, the winter that always will be known to us as Snowmageddon. Every nice day we have, we hold our breaths, waiting for the other shoe to drop, the one filled with mountains of snow that will rise and rise until we can’t see around corners for three months.
Please, powers that be, don’t do to them what you did to us last year (also, don’t do it to us again.) And be gentle with my mid-Atlantic friends this weekend. They don’t have the equipment and procedures in place to deal with exorbitant amounts of snow. When the snow comes, most of them are stuck inside either by choice or because they can’t get anywhere safely.
They don’t mind a day or two off, but seriously, if you’re going to dump the snow like that, for the sake of children and working people everywhere, could you at least think about making the snowstorm happen on a weekday?
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