The way I see it, there is one major disadvantage of growing up in a warm climate: no snow days. You never get to experience that rare treat of waking up and finding out you don’t have to go to school. Of listening to the school closings on the morning news with fingers crossed, waiting for them to get through the whole alphabet, cursing those lucky ducks at Orange Christian Academy, because they never had school.
I lived in Boston for a very long time. I saw a lot of snow there, but was only witness to one true Snow Day, and it was in 1997. That day, I actually flew into Boston and made it home right before the storm hit. I remember walking down a narrow, shoveled path on Comm. Ave with a chest-high wall of snow on either side. Mostly, though not owning a car + working in a restaurant meant that I had to work, no matter what the conditions. I once opened my front door to two feet of snow, and had to walk a mile to the T in a full-on blizzard, so I could spend the day sitting in a booth at Maggiano’s, coloring.
During the four years I spent at the gym, the storms never hit quite right for me to have a snow day. I left early once or twice, and got to sleep in ’till 7 a couple of times (woo hoo!), but I never really got snowed in. I never stayed home due to weather.
Bostonians are tough. The city-dwelling, non-drivers at least.
But I don’t live in Boston anymore. I live in Asheville, in the mountains, and when it snows in the mountains, things get kinda dicey.
I went outside at 6 this morning to shovel out the car and check the conditions, my Ohio-born, Bostonian self ready to brave anything. I shoveled my way to the car, which looked like our car, wearing a Pillsbury Dough Boy costume. I took a breath of cold, clean air and surveyed my neighborhood. Everything was bathed in that eerie grey light of dawn in a snowstorm. Early mornings already possess a special kind of silence, but today, even that silence was muffled by the snow.
The neighborhood was untouched save for the lone tracks of some brave kitty. No human or vehicle had been out yet (plowing is not so much a priority, I guess). My driveway lay before me, pristine and inviting. I paused a moment, then took off running, ruining the smooth surface with my boot tracks. My mom calls that making “pioneer tracks,” and it’s just as much fun at 33 as it was when I was a kid.
I stood in the middle of the road, showered in flakes, trying to determine whether or not one could/should drive. Everything in Asheville is closed today, even the colleges. My client, however, works at the hospital, so I knew he was already in town. I want my clients to count on me, to know that I will never let a little snow get in the way of their fitness goals. I want to build a reputation for reliability and tenacity.
But I’m also kind of stubborn. I have this tough-girl, macho thing about being from Boston, proving to whomever that some little flurry will not hold me back. It’s really rather unreasonable. If I cancel the session, am I just wimping out because I want to stay home? Am I foolish to think this is drivable? What if I get stuck?
These are the things I considered while standing in the middle of the street with my shovel at 6 AM.
Finally, as the snowfall increased around me and I considered our little two-wheel drive Dough Boy, I decided to call it. Maybe – maybe – I could get to the gym, but getting home would be a different story. The worst of the snow is yet to come, according to the morning news, and then it’s supposed to freeze.
I called my client and told him we’d have to postpone our first session until Wednesday. He said, “Oh, you think so?” For a minute I felt sheepish, and started explaining how snowy it is, how I’m not sure about the roads, and so forth. At which point he jovially informed me that he had already called the gym, and someone told him they were closed. Even if I were tough/stupid enough to drive, there isn’t anywhere to go. I got all bundled up and spent twenty minutes listening to the angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other, for no reason at all.
But the best part is….
I called the gym too, before I went outside. I called just to see if someone would answer, and he did, so I hung up on him. I don’t like talking in the morning.
Anyway, for the first time since the 90’s, I have a bona fide Snow Day.
Most people would have gone straight back to bed. Well, most people would have actually spoken to the nice man at the gym, called their client, not gotten all bundled up to shovel out the car, and then gone back to bed.
I am clearly not most people. Besides, why let a perfectly good pot of coffee go to waste?
In the time I’ve spent writing this post, the path that I shoveled outside is already buried again.
Today, I will write and work and make hot cocoa and chili. I will probably take a nap. But I will also get all bundled up again and make pioneer tracks all over my front yard. I will take Matthew outside and throw snowballs at him. I will revel in every moment of this unexpected gift, this snowed-in, surprise day off. This, my first real taste of winter in Asheville, my first Snow Day.