Monday night my wife Ann and I watched the weather report with great interest since our WeatherBug app had been warning us since Sunday that we were going to get a lot of snow beginning Monday night and continuing through Wednesday. Having been burned too many times in the past by overblown weather alerts used to lure viewers to watch the news, I was skeptical as I watched the weatherman indicate designated snowfall bands on the weather map of Northeast Ohio. Ours was a band of 4-6 inches by Tuesday morning followed by up to a total of 10 inches by Wednesday.
After the weather report, it was time to interview several superintendents of local school districts. One of them, and I don’t remember the district, made me laugh as he said that he hadn’t really thought about what to do for a “calamity day” since everyone was involved with online learning anyway. What, for me, added to the humor was the phrase “calamity day.” To my mind a calamity day involves burst pipes or an electrical outage. Lots of snow isn’t a calamity, it’s a cause for celebration.
Another superintendent interviewed showed by his comments that he had indeed thought about the situation. His age and demeanor indicated to me that this was a teacher (and, I am also guessing, a coach) who just happened to be in charge of a school district. He talked about “snow days” not “calamity days” and he said that he couldn’t wait until snow days meant what they used to mean – a day off from school. With a twinkle in his eye he even waxed poetic about children putting ice cubes in the toilet and wearing their pajamas backwards (or was it inside-out?). Either way, this seemed to me like a person who knew first-hand that reprieve-from-the-governor feeling that one gets upon notification of a snow day.
This was a man after my own heart, a man who knows what an incredible gift it is to wake up to a fresh and deep snowfall, to watch that scroll of school closings, and, with the advent of our age of advanced technology, to finally see that magic number, 216-651-0222, show up on the phone and to hear that beautiful prerecorded message alerting you not to a calamity day, but a snow day. On those days the coffee tastes just a little bit better and life seems just a little bit sweeter.
So on Tuesday morning I awoke to a fresh and deep snowfall, but there was no experience of watching the parade of school closings or awaiting that phone call of all phone calls. No, there was none of that. There was simply a lot of snow and a bunch of disappointed faces staring back at me during our Zoom class. The coffee was just coffee and life was nothing more than the mundane glow of a computer screen.
All I could think of was an episode of The Office
where Dwight Schrute has left Dunder Mifflin and is working at Staples. The over-the-top Andy Bernard is trying to take Dwight’s place in the mostly made-up role as Assistant to the Regional Manager, and in doing so is driving the normally placid Jim Halpert crazy. In one of the talking head moments for which the show was famous Jim, with snow falling outside the window behind him says, “I miss Dwight… Congratulations, universe. You win.”
I miss snow days… Congratulations, universe. You win.