Monday, January 28, 2008

Snow Day!

So growing up in San Diego (as you might imagine) we had ZERO snow days. We didn't even get rain days, which we really should have in the interest of fairness. I remember one of my teachers sitting in disbelief when it started raining buckets and all of us sheltered little elementary school San Diegans ran to the window oohing and ahhing. While one thinks having no season other than summer might sound appealing, try telling yourself that on Christmas Day when it's 70 degrees and sunny. It's just not natural. My friend's parents one year turned on the AC just so they could have a fire on Christmas Day.

As early as I can remember I started thinking about moving away ... far away ... like Maine ... which is kind of funny because my dad decided at age five that when he, the good little Lima, Ohio boy, grew up he was moving out to San Diego. Sometimes you just know what you want. Of course he'd shake his head at me when I'd whine "Whyyy can't we live somewhere where it snooooows?"

I knew, at the young age of 12, that in addition to snow, I wanted seasons and rain and a sky color other than blue (I was kind of gloomy like that sometimes). So what if one of my main motivations for chilly temps was to be able to wear sweaters like Molly Ringwald did in the Breakfast Club?

I was so deprived, I don't even think I had sweaters growing up ... well, maybe one ... or two. But regardless, when I'd back to school shop with my mom and sister and the department stores would inevitably have sweaters out, I'd pick them up excitedly. "Sweaters? It's too hot for sweaters!" My mom would say. January or February were way too far away to think about sweaters, especially in August and my mom was practical, damn it. "Why do they even have sweaters out if no one buys them?" I'd cry after my mom and sister who were, at this point, firmly planted in the Esprit section of the store.

I experienced my first snow day while living in Seattle. I had cruised through August and was now waiting for the heat wave known as the "Santa Anas" to come breezing through just like they did in Southern California every September. But guess what? I was in a whole different part of the country. And what was this? It started getting a little chilly ... I actually needed a SWEATER! And it was only September! Ding, ding, ding! That's why the stores had sweaters in them growing up! (And no, I'm not exagerating. Now I'm sure their marketing people are much more clever and the San Diego shelves are probably stocked with Hannah Montana or High School Musical shorts and t-shirts for the new batch of deprived school shopping punks growing up down there).

So I was bundled up in my sweater my first fall in Seattle, grudgingly turning on my heat in (gasp!) November after holding out for all of October. Christmas came and went and then one morning I woke up and the streets, trees and sidewalks were covered with snow. SNOW! I lived somewhere where it snowed! The only thing I had heard about Seattle when it snows is that the whole city shut down. I, just having started a new job, decided I wouldn't assume such things (all the while assuming such things) and called my boss ... at home ... at 6:00 a.m. She actually answered and very calmly said, yes, of course we were working even though there was snow on the ground. She even had the decency not to laugh when I asked if I needed chains to drive the mere four miles to the office. See it turns out there was only an INCH of snow on the ground and ALEDGEDLY, that's not difficult to drive in.

I made it ... barely. And drove with my hands positioned at ten and two the entire way in to work all the while being passed right and left by those native Seattleites in their Suburus. Jerks. You can imagine it was quite the story at the office and for the next couple of years I'd hear "but, wait, do I need chains?" any time the weather looked the least bit menacing.

This all came rushing back to me today when I woke up and there was SNOW on the ground! SNOW DAY! I thought excitedly to myself and flipped on the news to reports of school closures and icy roads--music to my ears as I'd do almost anything to get out of work (not that I don't LOVE my job, which boss, if you happen upon this, I totally do). Granted, there probably was only an inch on the ground but Portland gets this magic little thing called ice on the roads whenever it snows. And as long as you're holed up in your house and don't have to be anywhere, it makes for the perfect unexpected day off. A lovely day that I spent reading magazines, making soup and napping, all the while bundled up in a big, cozy sweater. Take that Molly.