Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The Snow Day and the Internet

With the East Coast bracing for the only significant snow of this failed winter, I was hoping for just a taste of winter wonderland.  But no.  No dice.  This morning I awoke to a neighborhood covered in a thick, heavy mat of congealed sleet.

It's enough, though, to keep the family home.  We have a snow day.  Sort of.

Only we don't.  Not really.  Not the way snow days once were.  I'm not talking about snow days for kids.  I'm talking about grown up snow days.

My wife and I, being old and all, remember what snow days were like.  We were in our twenties, and recently married, and it was the mid-1990s.  Ancient history, in other words.  When it snowed enough to make the roads impassable, we'd stay home from work.

I'd dig out our trusty little used Toyota, and we'd go sliding and bucketing along half-plowed roads to friends houses.   There, we'd drink and eat and tell life stories.  Others would come to our little apartment, and we'd watch videos on the Vee Cee Arrr and laugh and drink.  We'd call around to neighborhood establishments, finding places that were open, and we'd walk and laugh and pitch snowballs at each other on the way there, and come stumbling back through the snow on the way back.  The yards and parks would be filled with children, and the streets and sidewalks with little groups of adults doing what we were doing.

Snow made the day different.  It was notable.  It changed the pattern of our life.

Snow changed the pattern of life because work stayed at work.  It had not yet wormed its way into every moment of our lives.  The expectation that we would work from home, that we'd have meetings at home and read memos at home and never ever ever stop working?  That work would lurk on its charger at our bedside and vibrate in our purses and our pockets?  That did not exist.

Snow changed the pattern of life because our relationships and exchanges weren't mediated, because life had organic rhythms and patterns and seasons.

Snow days in the internet era are inferior things.