Starting in fifth grade, I went to Public School. Not only did I switch out of a private, Catholic grade school, I went from a school starting with an S to a school starting with a W. That meant I had to watch every other school in the entire world flash across the bottom of the TV before I found out if mine was closed for a Snow Day. Too often it wasn’t, and I would sit, unmoving, unblinking, making sure I read every name again, letter by letter, so as to be sure I didn’t miss my school.
Our district superintendent was from Minnesota, or Michigan, or some such Northern M state. I wasn’t alone in imagining him cackling in front of a roaring fireplace with his hands in front of his face tapping fingertip to fingertip as he contemplated the most heartbreaking way to send the message to parents and students alike: School is open. He only wanted to make us suffer, and we knew it. Six inches was breakfast to him, growing up Up There, but to us, desperate for a day off kids in the Midwest, it was a whole day of missed runs down the hill on whoever’s sled didn’t break during the last snow day, it was missed snowball fights, it was sandwiches in the lunchroom not hot chocolate in the dining room.
It was crap. The “walked uphill both ways” argument fell on deaf ears, though I think the kids said the adults said that more than the adults actually said it. It was easy to latch on to. That was then, when They walked. This was now, and we took busses and cars and the roads, oh why did they treat the roads?!
The week after New Years the schools in Atlanta closed because it was too cold. I lamented how I wanted school closed as a kid because it was “too cold”. The last week of January, schools closed because two inches of snow brought the city to a standstill. This second week of February, the schools are closed again and I can still see the dirt between the blades of grass. It’s just I can see it through a layer of ice.
Last year I casually accepted the responsibility of being the inclement weather decision maker for the office. It was easy then – I was regularly the only one in the office. Of course I can make that decision. I’m wonderful at being responsible for myself. I went through the process with the office manager from our home office, and filed it in the “probably never going to happen, but I should keep it anyway” file.
Fast-forward a year and there are now ten people regularly in the office, including two people whose position are far senior to mine, and the responsibility still rests with me. We’re in the middle of our second winter weather “event” in two weeks, and twice much of the conversation has been filtered through me, with laughs as they are with a bunch of Northern Southerners, ending with the group decision that it doesn’t matter anyway because no one is coming in regardless.
Though I do not make the decision alone, as I imagine, now as an adult, the evil villain school district superintendent didn’t make his decision alone either, I’ve maintained, and quite happily I should note, the position to send the email that will let everyone know the decision they already made for themselves is office wide. There’s comfort in the consensus that no one else went in either, and as the too-oft regarded as the red-headed step-child of offices, it’s good to present a united front.
Evil villain school district superintendent often waited until morning, last-minute to many of us school children, before making the final decision. He understood, I imagine, that predictions are just that – predictions – and until the weather system arrives and the situation assessed for its actuality and not its supposedly, a confident decision is difficult to make. Snow days, after all, are not unlimited in quantity, and as fun as they are, summer camp is way more fun.
I too now wait until morning before I decide if its best to close the office. It’s never officially closed; well, I don’t use those words, “the office is closed”, because our office is such that anyone who wants to be an asshole and drive through ice and snow to get to work can function without anyone else showing up. Rather, I suggest no one take any risks and work from home.
We can all work from home. Between laptops, VPN, cell phones, iPads, and the technology of today, unless power goes out and batteries die, none of us are disconnected. Part of me thinks it’s too bad schools can’t be as connected as businesses, that teachers can’t teach from their living room while students connect from their kitchen table. Part of me thinks, that unless there’s a threat to summer vacation, kids and snow days is a tradition that shouldn’t be broken.
Did you have to wait until the end of the alphabet to know if your school was closed? Did you have an evil villain school district superintendent who refused to close school except under the most dire of circumstances? Do you work from home in bad weather, and how much work do you actually do?
*Featured image is mine
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